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Former Sarb governor Tito Mboweni takes over as finance minister

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is confident that Mboweni will bring the leadership that is needed now.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday appointed former central bank governor Tito Mboweni as finance minister, replacing Nhlanhla Nene who admitted to having meetings with the business family at the centre of alleged corruption.

Nene faced calls to resign after he admitted visiting the Gupta brothers, friends of scandal-plagued former president Jacob Zuma who have been accused of high-level influence-peddling, and failing to disclose the meetings earlier.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

The rand firmed moments before Mboweni was announced finance minister at a ceremony in Cape Town. Banking stocks closed more than one percent firmer.

South Africa has had four finance ministers in the last two years, with the rand and bonds reacting badly to the upheavals.

Moody’s is set to review its rating of South Africa on Friday and Nene’s departure and replacement by an insider in Mboweni is seen as restoring stability and positive investor sentiment towards an economy now in recession.

The crisis over the finance minister had thrown a spotlight on Ramaphosa’s promise to crack down on corruption and boost economic growth.

Ramaphosa said he had received a resignation letter from Nene and had decided to accept it.

“It’s a measure of his character and commitment to the country that he has decided to resign despite not being implicated in any wrongdoing,” the president said.

“I am confident that Mr Mboweni will bring the leadership that is needed now,” Ramaphosa said.

“As former governor of the Reserve bank and before that as minister of labour Mr Mboweni brings with him vast experience in areas of finance, economic policy as well as governance.”

Mboweni said Ramaphosa called him at around 9 pm local time last night to inform him about the appointment.

Mboweni, who was sworn into office, did not want to be drawn on what his priorities were as minister. One of his first tasks will be delivering the medium-term budget this month.

“I think the president has just taken away my freedom,” he said in his first comments to reporters as finance minister.

Divisive figure

South Africa dollar-denominated debt trimmed losses across the curve on Tuesday after Ramaphosa appointed Mboweni as finance minister.

Nene became a divisive figure in the scandal after acknowledging in a hearing that he had visited the Gupta brothers at their homes in Johannesburg, a confession his opponents said tarnished his credentials. He publicly apologised on Friday.

The Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – have been accused of using their friendship with Zuma, Ramaphosa’s predecessor, to siphon off billions of rand in state funds and of inappropriately influencing cabinet appointments.

Nene is a pivotal ally of Ramaphosa, who reappointed him finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle shortly after he became president earlier this year.

“Ramaphosa had very little choice. He had to let Nene go,” Isaac Matshego, senior economist at Nedbank said.

“When Tito was governor of the Reserve Bank he was the darling of the markets. He was the one who introduced inflation targeting, they really loved him. This will also be a positive sign in the eyes of Moody’s.” 

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Yes please!

Now that is top of the class leadership – Thank you President Ramaphosa

Always surprising to the upside!

The ex-finance minister was a good chap, but we cannot afford distractions.

Lots of SA Rebuilding ahead.

You mean ex-SARB governor

One would realistically assume that Nene going was an amicable solution to a difficult problem for CR, therefore the bar has now been set, there are many other scoundrels in your government Mr President who also visited the same shebeen, we trust you will apply the same solution to these members ?

It is not about the visit to the compound but the fact that you have a office bearer that has admitted to lying – how would you trust or clean up corruption if the public can not trust him anymore.

Has the President himself not met with these Vultures?… But Juju would have known and not been quiet about it…

If South Africa were to remove all ministers who lied we would have no parliament. Nene is one of the best of the bunch and the talent pool from which to recruit is thin.

One has to be realistic.

Nene only came clean under Malema’s threats of perjury charges. That does not make him good, only scared. He should have taken heart from the fact that there are ministers who have been caught out lying in court under oath, and their jobs are safe.

EFF will have to make a noise first and I have this sneaky suspicion that Julius is cozing up to the captured faction. Dali Mpofu defending Tom Moyane good example of the shift. We need to ask ourselves why did Julius leak this. What does he stand to gain. And dont tell me he did it out of patriotism. SA public and media lets the EFF set the debate in this country.

“and the talent pool is thin”, rubbish. Only true when you look around you for Comrades, there is a vast pool of much more talented people around in SA but not from ANC cadres.

Sorry but Gill Marcus, Barbara Hogan, Mboweni. Ben Turok, Ronny Casrills, are all ANC. So is Pikole (maybe still), Mothlante, and some others.

What a brilliant turn of events! Mboweni fantastic – proved all as former Labour Minister and SARB governor.
(SA is also still going to need Gill Marcus’s sharp mind and experience in rebuilding. But she was adamant when she retired she planned on doing her own thing for friends and family – can’t the president lure her back? (Money won’t work, she’s not the type.)

Easy on the very early praise I reckon. Isn’t this the same Tito who “in April earlier this year, Mboweni tweeted “Dear God, open the eyes and ears of our Leaders’. Let them do four things: The State must own 40% of mining companies, start a State Bank, implement appropriate Land Use Planning and Create a Sovereign Wealth Fund. What is so difficult? That is Radical Economic Transformation!!”.

according to the DA’s Maynier as reported in iol.

We may wish Nene had stayed.

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