‘Marcus exit no surprise, Zuma spoilt for choice’

2014-09-18 17:47

I have a vivid memory of a Sunday morning in July 2009 when journalists were called to a press conference at the Union Buildings. Gill Marcus, who was about to be announced as the new Reserve Bank governor, walked into the conference looking, as she always did, slightly out of place among the well heeled dignitaries.

Wearing her trademark kaftan, she looked like a regular person caught up in the corridors of power and influence. Until she spoke, that is. I have never seen her stumble, or appear rehearsed, whether she was speaking on national or economic issues or answering stupid questions at a bank annual general meeting. Her ability to communicate complex issues at everyone’s level is a true talent.

Today Marcus, who has just turned 65, announced she is stepping down when her contract expires in November.

The announcement is not a huge surprise, and there has been speculation for some time about who would succeed her. President Jacob Zuma will be spoilt for choice. Deputy governors are Daniel Mminele, Lesetja Kganyago and Francois Groepe, the latter probably being the least likely to take over from her.

Since her return to South Africa from exile in 1990, Marcus has largely been involved in serving the ANC and government, including as deputy finance minister. She was also Absa’s chairperson.

Marcus is not the type to try to win popularity contests, but she gained many people’s respect. She is remarkable in being able to reach the highest levels while always being true to herself.

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