Monday 10th Dec 2018

Kgothatso Madisa – SowetanLive -   

New Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Image: Robert Tshabalala -

 

Tito Mboweni is the new finance minister.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the former Reserve Bank Governor replaces Nhlanhla Nene who is engulfed in a lot of controversy regarding his hush-hush meetings with the Gupta brothers and has resigned.

Sowetan reported on Monday that Nene had asked Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as the minister.

This followed Nene’s testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture where he admitted that he met the Gupta brothers eight times at both their home in Saxonwold and their offices in Midrand.

Mboweni, who takes over the finance ministry with immediate effect, is not new to the financial sector as he was at the helm of the Reserve Bank for ten years.

The 59-year-old became the first black person to be at the helm of Reserve Bank in August 1999 when then president Thabo Mbeki decided to replace Chris Stals. He vacated the office in 2008 when his ten-year term came to an end.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from the National University of Lesotho and a Master of Arts degree in development economics from the University of East Anglia in England.

Born in Tzaneen, Limpopo, Mboweni is an Honorary Professor of Economics awarded by the University of South Africa and also holds a Degree of Doctor of Economics conferred by the University of Natal.

Mboweni’s appointment comes as a shock as he ruled himself out of Ramaphosa’s cabinet in February this year when the newly announced president wielded his axe. He shared on his official Twitter account that "against the wisdom of my team‚ please don’t tell them this. It’s between us‚ I am not available for Minister of Finance. You cannot recycle the same people all over again. It is time for young people. We are available for advisory roles. Not cabinet. We have done that.”

He was entangled in a salary controversy in 2016 when he was accused by Public Investment Corporation of receiving “excessive” pay as the chairperson of the Accelerate Property Fund after his salary reportedly increased from R506 667 to a whooping R1.58-million.

When his tenure as a non-executive director of the Brics New Development Bank came to an end in 2017, it raised questions around whether there is any credence to the claims former President Jacob Zuma used to get rid of Nene whom he had promised a position at the Brics Bank.

A staunch ANC member, Mboweni spent ten years in exile in Lesotho between 1980 and 1990 where upon his return was appointed the head of the party’s Department of Economic Policy.

Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on position of Finance Minister

9 October 2018

Fellow South Africans,

Over the course of the last few days there has been much discussion among South Africans on matters that arose in the course of the testimony of Minister Nhlanhla Nene at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

As a consequence of these developments, Minister Nene submitted a letter of resignation this morning in which he requested that I relieve him of the position of the Minister of Finance.

He has indicated that there is risk that the developments around his testimony will detract from the important task of serving the people of South Africa, particularly as we work to re-establish public trust in government.

After due consideration of the circumstances surrounding this matter, and in the interests of good governance, I have decided to accept his resignation.

During his tenure as Minister of Finance, Mr Nene served the people and government of South Africa with diligence and ability.

Under difficult circumstances and often under great pressure, he consistently defended the cause of proper financial management and clean governance.

It is a measure of his character and his commitment to the national interest that he has taken this decision to resign in the wake of errors of judgment, even though he has not been implicated in acts of wrongdoing.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank him for his service to the nation.

In the wake of Mr Nene’s resignation, I have decided to appoint Mr Tito Mboweni as Minister of Finance with immediate effect.

As former governor of the South African Reserve Bank and, before that, as Minister of Labour, Mr Mboweni brings to this position vast experience in the areas of finance, economic policy and governance.

Mr Mboweni takes on this responsibility at a critical moment for our economy, as we intensify cooperation among all social partners to increase investment, accelerate growth and create jobs on a substantial scale.

This moment calls for strong, capable and steady leadership that will unlock new opportunities as we grow and transform our economy.

I am confident that Mr Mboweni will provide that leadership.

Allow me to conclude with a few remarks about the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

It is critical that the Commission has the means and opportunity to effectively fulfil its mandate.

In this process, no person should be above scrutiny, and all relevant and credible accusations of wrongdoing should be thoroughly investigated.

It is incumbent upon any person who may have knowledge of any of the matters within the Commission’s mandate to provide that information to the Commission, to do so honestly and to do so fully.

For the country to move forward, we need to establish the full extent of state capture, identify those responsible for facilitating it, and take decisive steps to prevent it happening again.

Throughout this process, we need to be guided by the values and principles of our Constitution, mindful of the importance of due process, committed to good governance, and determined that, with the support of all South Africans, the Commission of Inquiry will succeed in fulfilling its critical mandate.

Once more, I wish to thank Mr Nene for his tireless service to the country, and wish Mr Mboweni well in his new role.

Issued by: The Presidency
Pretoria

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