10 things to know about Ramaphosa’s new eco­nomic ad­viser

The Witness - - YOURMONEY -

AS a reg­u­lar columnist, a di­rec­tor of MTN and a key fig­ure at the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion for some time, Trudi Makhaya al­ready had some de­gree of name recog­ni­tion.

But her ap­point­ment as Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s eco­nomic ad­viser has cat­a­pulted her into a whole new strato­sphere of in­flu­ence.

Apart from guid­ing the pres­i­dent on pol­icy, Makhaya will over­see a drive to at­tract $100 bil­lion in new in­vest­ment. A group of new in­vest­ment en­voys — for­mer Fi­nance min­is­ter Trevor Manuel, for­mer deputy min­is­ter of Fi­nance Mce­bisi Jonas, ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son of Afropulse Group Phumzile Lan­geni, and chair­per­son of Lib­erty Group Jacko Ma­ree — have been ap­pointed to seek the money abroad.

Makhaya will co-or­di­nate their ef­forts, and over­see ar­range­ments for an in­vest­ment con­fer­ence this year.

SA’s new eco­nomic ad­viser grew up in a “poor, beau­ti­ful and solemn vil­lage” in Ham­man­skraal, ma­tric­u­lat­ing in 1996 from St Barn­abas Col­lege in Bos­mont.

She holds a BCom (Law and Eco­nom­ics) and a Masters de­gree in Eco­nom­ics from the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand. Makhaya re­ceived a Rhodes schol­ar­ship, and went on to get an MBA and an MSc in Devel­op­ment Eco­nom­ics from Ox­ford Univer­sity.

On her re­turn to South Africa, she worked as a con­sul­tant at Deloitte, Gen­e­sis An­a­lyt­ics and An­gloGold Ashanti be­fore join­ing the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion in 2010, first as a prin­ci­pal econ­o­mist and later as a mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

In 2015 she left the com­mis­sion to start her own firm, Makhaya Ad­vi­sory.

She helps en­trepreneurs to es­tab­lish their busi­nesses and also served as an ad­viser and an­gel in­vestor in young com­pa­nies.

Here are 10 things we didn’t know about Makhaya:

1. As deputy com­mis­sioner at the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion, she was in­stru­men­tal in levy­ing a record fine of R1,46 bil­lion on 15 con­struc­tion com­pa­nies who rigged bids for sta­di­ums for the 2010 soc­cer World Cup.

2. She ad­mires Curro (an “out­stand­ing suc­cess in the af­ford­able [ed­u­ca­tion] seg­ment”) and Capitec, which was the sub­ject of an aca­demic pa­per she wrote.

3. Her view on how South Africa can be­come a more glob­ally com­pet­i­tive na­tion: “It will take some sac­ri­fice from all role-play­ers ... Wages and mar­gins are high in South Africa. We need to tran­si­tion to a moder­ate cost, highly pro­duc­tive econ­omy. We have to be un­flinch­ing in ex­am­in­ing our weak­ness in ed­u­ca­tion, health, gov­er­nance and in­fra­struc­ture and fix that.”

4. She’s a Thomas Piketty fan. “He com­bines the best of the pro­fes­sion – his­tor­i­cal anal­y­sis, rig­or­ous data anal­y­sis and wicked scep­ti­cism. You might not agree with ev­ery­thing he says, and some of his pol­icy ad­vice is hope­lessly ide­al­is­tic, but he presents it all in a very com­pelling way.”

5. In an opin­ion piece, Makhaya ba­si­cally pre­dicted for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s ax­ing of Nhlanhla Nene as Fi­nance min­is­ter in 2014, a year be­fore it hap­pened:

“Five years is a long time in a Zuma Cab­i­net. For now, Nene is con­sid­ered clever enough to be Fi­nance min­is­ter. But does he run the risk of be­ing as seen too clever as the am­bi­tions of this term un­fold?”

6. She writes fic­tion. Makhaya’s re­cent work has been pub­lished in New Con­trast and the Sol Plaatje Euro­pean Union Po­etry An­thol­ogy Vol IV.

7. She has be­come an ac­tivist to pro­mote the rights of par­ents at work, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to ex­press­ing breast milk: “As one who acts as an ad­viser to or­gan­i­sa­tions in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties, I have a van­tage point into the di­ver­sity of sup­port of­fered to par­ents in the work­place.

“I have had to pump breast milk in bath­rooms (would you make a sand­wich in a bath­room?), once in a Top 40 CEO’s of­fice suite ...”

8. She stood up for Ce­cil John Rhodes dur­ing the Rhodes Must Fall protests. Sort of.

She wrote that Rhodes’ will was limited by the sex­ism and racism of his era, but its schol­ar­ship en­dow­ments re­vealed a man who recog­nised some univer­sal virtues: “These con­tra­dic­tions, Rhodes the pil­lager and Rhodes the bene­fac­tor, are a sym­bol of our coun­try’s evo­lu­tion to­wards a yet to be at­tained just and in­clu­sive or­der.”

9. Makhaya lives by this motto from an Al­ice Walker poem: “Be no­body’s dar­ling”.

10. She is an ac­tive Twit­ter user.

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