'Mr State Capture' Gigaba needs to come clean on the Gupta looting
To animate his otherwise grim mini-budget on Wednesday, Malusi Gigaba wove in the motif of a harvest and the idea of reinvention, derived from the writings of the poet Ben Okri.
Considering the figures he presented reflecting the calamitous state of the economy, the harvest theme was misplaced. There is nothing to yield - apart from the derivatives of ruinous political leadership.
The line "You can't remake the world without remaking yourself" appeared to strike a note with Gigaba.
Perhaps this was appropriate, considering his reinvention as "Pravin Gordhan Lite"."We must find the wisdom, the humility and the perspective to ask: 'How must we remake ourselves in order to build the South Africa we want?'" Gigaba said.
Being at the helm of the National Treasury has forced him to confront truths about the consequences of unnecessary political instability, rampant corruption, the abuse of state-owned enterprises as vehicles for enrichment, and wasting taxpayers' money.
Ahead of the mini-budget on Wednesday, Gigaba was palpably weighed down by the message he was about to deliver.
He said a cabinet meeting he had just left had been "supportive", but there later appeared to be crossed wires with Energy Minister David Mahlobo regarding the government's approach to the nuclear programme.
President Jacob Zuma was also "supportive" of Gordhan's February budget speech, then fired him a month later.
Gigaba said the mini-budget was deliberately candid about the state of the economy "to put the facts as they are".
The essence of his message was similar to what Gordhan had been saying about fiscal consolidation, cutting waste and the need for a new vision to tackle the country's problems.
Gordhan Lite was different from the person who had great ambitions for radical economic transformation six months before.
Gigaba was obviously appointed with a mandate from his political masters, or else the trauma to the economy in the removal of Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, was pointless.