Cape Town - Tito Mboweni’s appointment as the new finance minister has been hailed by analysts and economists as the best choice President Cyril Ramaphosa could have made and they say the economy is in safe hands.
Ramaphosa made a late afternoon announcement on Tuesday, first confirming that Nhlanhla Nene had tendered his resignation as finance minister, which the president accepted.
Nene quit following concerns raised around his admissions relating to misleading the public during his testimony at the state capture inquiry.
The EFF pushed for his removal, threatening to disclose more details of Nene’s relations with the infamous Gupta family.
EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi welcomed Mboweni’s appointment but stressed that Ramaphosa should act against ministers Malusi Gigaba, Nomvula Mokonyane and Bathabile Dlamini.
“These ministers have demonstrated the same disregard of ethical conduct shown by Nene, and like Nene, they too have undermined Parliament’s accountability mechanisms. Their continued stay in cabinet sends a message that Ramaphosa is inconsistent,” he said.
Economists welcomed the appointment as Mboweni's seniority was needed at the moment.
He was the eighth governor of the SA Reserve Bank and the first black South African to hold the post. He was also a senior member of the ANC national executive committee.
Mike Schussler, an economist at economist.co.za, said Mboweni had all the credibility needed.
“The economy is now in a pair of safe hands. It is someone senior both in the ANC and in the government as he served as a minister of labour previously. What is also important is that we have ratings agencies watching us and this will bode well them. We could have snuck in Mcebisi Jonas but a very senior appointment like this was the right one. Investors know him from his days at the Reserve Bank and in government.”
Economist Dawie Roodt said Mboweni was loud and clear about the economy. “I don’t see him allowing Eskom to push up prices way too high. He is also experienced and knows how the financial system works.
"Most importantly, the markets know him. Nhlanhla Nene was a good man and for me, he did the honourable thing. He won’t be out in the cold, that’s for sure,” he said.
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) chief executive Wayne Duvenage said offering to resign was a testament of Nene’s character despite errors of judgment during his tenure.
“By doing so, Mr Nene has set a new benchmark of what society expects from government leadership. Ramaphosa has also sent a strong message and set a new benchmark that civil society can expect from him, as he tackles corruption and the abuse of power in positions of leadership,” he said.
DA finance spokesperson David Maynier said: “With his experience, the new finance minister will have the advantage of being able to hit the ground running and is, at least, known to market participants, ratings agencies and international financial institutions, who closely follow events in South Africa.”
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla commended Nene for accepting responsibility for his mistakes and leaving without being pushed.
* Read more on #TitoMboweni here.