South Africa’s collective financial institutions, from banks and insurance companies to audit firms - and the organisations that regulate them - have been the shining beacon of good governance, debunking Africa’s poor reputation in this regard. Few in Africa had been able to improve commercial infrastructure in the transition to independence from colonial rule.
South Africa built up fiscal structures that were even better than the ones Western countries had left behind. But in December 2015 this reputation and the systems that upheld it were rocked to the core.
The president had already been stained as morally flexible for his court appearances for everything from fraud to rape and international trust waned. It was for the state institutions, the airtight Constitution, and the private sector to keep the politicians honest.
So when the finance minister with a proven track record and recognised tenure within Treasury was replaced by a virtual unknown, the markets reverberated.