The Presidential Years

Transparency had boundaries not only pertaining to personal matters. There was also the line between transparency and the need for government to be able to do its work quietly in areas where public knowledge would make that work more difficult or even undermine it. Journalists grew used to him saying, ‘We are dealing with very sensitive matters and so I hope you will not press me for details’, and similar ways of deflecting questions they were burning to ask. It was done in such a firm yet gracious manner that it was accepted.

Many and various examples are described elsewhere in this book including: managing the succession of finance ministers in the first years of government; handling of the Meiring report; the development of GEAR as government’s macroeconomic policy, kept under wraps until the last minute; and as described later, the delicate interventions of conflict-resolution in other parts of the world.