Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Abiding by collective Cabinet decisions is like swallowing a rock, says Tito Mboweni

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published May 6, 2020

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Johannesburg -  Minister Tito Mboweni has expressed frustration at having to abide by collective decisions made by the majority in Parliament. He compared having to agree with collective decisions to "swallowing a rock".

Mboweni tweeted that upon voluntarily joining government he had put himself in a position where he has to obey majority and collective decisions.

"Not so long ago, I was a free man, no political constraints. Then I agreed, voluntarily to join Government. Tjoooo! Free but not free!! You have to obey the majority/collective decisions! Sometimes it feels like swallowing a rock. "

"I have often asked myself the question: What is the art of politics? The path to power and how to stay in power! And lead your people correctly. Corruption free. Why do people want to be in power, actually? Why? It’s a poorly paying, thankless and abusive job," said Mboweni.

In his parting shot, he added that: "So, if you cannot swallow a rock, stay out of politics ! Remember that?"

Mboweni has been known to go against the Tripartite Alliance grain ever since being handpicked by President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Nhlanhla Nene who had resigned under a cloud of Gupta family related controversy. 

He irked the ire of the ANC's alliance partners in November 2018 when he said, during an investor conference in New York, that embattled national airline SAA should be shut down as it had no future.

At the time Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said they asked the ANC to rein in all ministers who spoke outside of the party's policy framework and mentioned Mboweni in particular as the trade union felt that "what he was raising was not in line with ANC resolutions".

Mboweni also recently said he had lost the debate on the banning of cigarettes and alcohol in the Cabinet as the ban had seen government lose over R1 billion in sin tax revenue since the lockdown regulations came into effect on March 26.

Speaking on the issue, Mboweni said that once Cabinet had taken a decision, such decisions were binding on all ministers. "For example, I didn't like the continuous ban on alcohol and tobacco but I lost the debate and therefore I have to toe the line. I know I am losing a lot of revenue in the middle of being under pressure to spend, but nevertheless, that's the decision of the Cabinet and I have to fall in line," said Mboweni.

Political Bureau

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