Opposition parties welcome Mboweni appointment

09 October 2018 - 19:53 By Zimasa Matiwane
Newly appointed finance minister, Tito Mboweni being sworn in at Tynhuys, Cape Town on October 9 2018
Newly appointed finance minister, Tito Mboweni being sworn in at Tynhuys, Cape Town on October 9 2018
Image: Esa Alexander

Opposition parties welcomed the appointment of former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni as finance minister on Tuesday.

Mboweni replaced Nhlanhla Nene‚ who resigned amid a public outcry sparked by his apology last week over his multiple meetings with the Gupta family at their private home.

The biggest driver calling for Nene to leave the post‚ the EFF – whose leader Julius Malema once described Nene as “corrupt as hell” in Parliament – was among those who welcomed Mboweni’s appointment.

The EFF implored him to prioritise the interests of poor black South Africans suffering as a result of high unemployment rates.

But the party also wanted other ministers to face the same fate at Nene.

Party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called on Ramaphosa to apply "the same consistency with other ministers who continue to serve in his cabinet‚ like Malusi Gigaba‚ Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane".

"These ministers have demonstrated the same disregard of ethical conduct shown by Nene‚ and like Nene they too have undermined Parliament's accountability mechanisms‚" Ndlozi said.

He added that their continued stay in cabinet sent a message that Ramaphosa was failing to put the interests of South Africans above those of ANC big shots.

DA shadow minister for finance David Maynier said Mboweni’s experience in the financial sector would enable him to hit the ground running and inspire confidence in the financial markets.

“Mboweni is at least known to market participants‚ ratings agencies and international financial institutions‚ who closely follow events in South Africa‚” he said.

However‚ the DA raised concerns about Mboweni’s views‚ which they said seemed to be at odds with government policy.

Maynier hoped for clarification from Mboweni in the run-up to the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement‚ which is scheduled to take place in two weeks’ time in Parliament.

The DA’s concerns are seemingly around a tweet Mboweni posted‚ calling for radical economic transformation - including that the state own 40 percent of mining companies‚ start a state bank‚ implement appropriate land use planning and create a sovereign wealth fund.

The IFP also welcomed Mboweni’s appointment.

“This comes at a time when our economy more than ever needs capable‚ able and stable leadership. We eagerly await market reaction to this announcement and hope that it does not affect our credit rating pronouncement later this week‚” national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said.

He expressed concern over a lack of “stable governance and leadership” in the finance ministry‚ as Mboweni is the fifth minister in three years to hold the position.

While the IFP praised Nene for doing the “honourable” thing by resigning‚ the party called on all ministers in the Ramaphosa cabinet to submit themselves before the Zondo inquiry and reveal their meetings with the Gupta family and how those meetings may have had an effect on government policy‚ plans or spending.

“It is unfortunate that the president did not take this opportunity to fire Bathabile Dlamini and minister Malusi Gigaba… We await an announcement on the abovementioned ministers in due course‚” Hlengwa added.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota has expressed a lack of confidence in the composition of Ramaphosa’s cabinet and indicated that they will approach other opposition parties with a view to initiating a motion of no confidence in the president’s cabinet.

“With a population of 54-million people‚ South Africa has more men and women who can manage the economy of this country‚ there’s no need to recycle old wood as if we are running short of population.

“But President Ramaphosa is clearly weak and not capable of cleansing the executive of this country with politically clean and economically capable men and women of this nation‚” Lekota said.

The Cope leader added that the nation was currently facing an unprecedented crisis‚ constitutionally‚ economically‚ socially and governmentally‚ all of which was rooted in a political crisis of corrupted leadership‚ bad governance and poor policy choices.

“Capture of the state was preceded by the capture and corruption of the ANC as an organisation. Ramaphosa’s cabinet is littered with compromised and clearly corrupted ministers. It is clear that the president is compromised and restricted by the factional battle to the death within the ANC and it is clear that attempts to save the unity of the ANC comes at the expense of our current and future prospects as a nation‚” Lekota said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on October 9 2018 that Nhlanhla Nene had tendered his resignation as minister of finance. This comes after some political parties rejected his apology for his previously undisclosed meetings with the Gupta family when he served as deputy minister and minister of finance, respectively.