As you may possibly have gathered, Trevor Manuel is one of my heroes. I've blogged about this before but just to recap... when he came took over the particularly complex role of Finance Minister in a brand new South Africa 12 years ago, the markets were oh, so very sceptical. You see (for non-South Africans), Manuel comes out of the SA Communist Party. This is particularly scary when you're business on the African continent where there is a history of random new governments nationalising everything (I imagine South America shares this concern). In that 12 years, he has revolutionised the SA tax system, making SARS one of the most effective organisations in the country, he has presided over a period of sustained growth with limited inflation and he has dramatically grown the social security net and investment in Education, Housing, Healthcare and Welfare while at the same time using the regular budget surplus to pay down the national debt. And he still found time to deliver the most lovely of budget speeches.
Today he resigned, the Rand lost 25c against the Dollar and the markets dropped 2%. Untill he came back and said he'd be willing to serve again if they asked him to and the markets stablised. Clearly I'm not the only one who likes Trevor Manuel :) So much for those who warned that an ANC/Communist Finance Minister would be the ruin of the SA economy!
11 ministers down - although some might return depending on offers from the NEC - and growing murmers of a new political party. It appears there are others who think the Mbeki crowd have the right idea about a thing or two.