Well, the SA cabinet was finally reshuffled last night. Perhaps the President thought “The Rand is WAY stronger than it was 15 months ago – what’s the worst that can happen?” Either way, we now have a new SA Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba (formerly of Home Affairs).
Twitter went wild. I was also involved.
SA Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba
Here is a list of achievements from Mr Gigaba’s time as Minister of Home Affairs:
- Removed all downloadable forms from the DHA website, and insisted that everyone visit a Home Affairs in person.
- Implemented a new requirement for all children under the age of 18 to travel with an unabridged birth certificate, parental affidavits, and (potentially) court orders in order to prove that they’re not being trafficked.
- Implemented a biometric requirement for visiting tourists, requiring in-person visits to the SA embassy in your country of origin. Also, it was implemented before there were any biometric collection facilities in some countries (ie. an effective tourist ban)*. This caused tourism inflows in 2015 to drop by 7%, at a time when South Africa’s weak Rand should have made us an incredibly attractive destination.
*Although biometric information is now being collected at the airports – a recent development.
Some potential parallels in the Finance Ministry:
- Banning e-filing and insisting that all tax returns be filed in person.
- Implementing rigorous chemical testing procedures at Customs, causing massive import delays, in order to decrease the amount of near-expiry goods entering the country. Because we know what a bit issue that is #not.
- Introducing a biometric requirement for all ultimate-beneficiary foreign investors, regardless of where they come from, prior to permitting them to purchase government bonds, JSE-listed stocks or local real estate. Effectively banning foreign direct investment.
At this point, it’s all just speculation.
But let’s see whether the new Finance Minister permits the Habib bank transaction later today…
And if you feel like reliving the post from the last Finance Minister two-step: A Foxtrot of Finance Ministers.
Rolling Alpha posts about finance, economics, and sometimes stuff that is only quite loosely related. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, or like my page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha. Or both.