State capability comes under scrutiny as South Africa stares a first-of-its-kind economic reconstruction challenge in the eye.

See part 1: Fix South Africa or fix the ANC – Ramaphosa can’t do both

Covid-19 has broken the global economy and shattered South Africa’s as well.

You know the numbers, but these made me sit up: it is likely that the number of people without jobs – 10 million – has grown substantially; while the national purse now pays out 22 million social grants a month, with the extension of beneficiaries.

The interest on the national debt alone is staggering – economist Mike Schussler has shown SA is spending R50-billion more a month than it collects in taxes.

Business, government and labour are negotiating a post-Covid-19 Economic, Reconstruction, Growth and Inclusivity Plan built on the social compacting principles of the 2018 Jobs Summit.

But is the Cabinet up to the task?

A little positivity to start. The outlier in the Cabinet team is Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, whose steady hand at the tiller has been a balm for South Africa as it cracked open under the strain of the coronavirus.

As a doctor, Mkhize’s grasp of epidemiology and health along with…

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