The Presidential Years

I made five conditions to Mandela that night upon accepting the post. Funnily enough it was again after another Mittterand dinner this time in Johannesburg that he saw me. I said, ‘You know very little about me, apart from the contact that we have had over banking. You don’t really know what I believe in.’ He said, ‘No, what do you believe in?’ ‘There are five things,’ I said, ‘that I would like to see happen as a condition of my acceptance:

    • we will have discipline in both monetary and fiscal policy;
    • we need a successful RDP, we have to uplift that level of people to a more sustainable economic level;
    • I am going to remain an independent;
    • we need to have a market-related economic policy.
‘If not I will have great difficulty to accept the post.’ He said straight out, ‘I can live with that.’

But he’s clever, politically. When the first budget was finished and drafted, and presented to the cabinet, he said to me that it would really be a good idea if we could get some other ministers involved as well. And I think he expected me to say, ‘Well it’s done already’. But I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s a very good idea, I don’t want it to be a Chris Liebenberg budget. It must be a government budget.’ He then asked Dawie de Villiers, Trevor and Tito to have a look at it. think we met once though it was a waste of time really. Personally I think this was just a precautionary step not to be embarrassed by me, still having my five conditions in the back of his mind

Chris Liebenberg