How Cosatu once kept Tito Mboweni out

Tito Mboweni was sworn in as the new Finance Minister in Cape Town, on Tuesday, October 9 2018.
Tito Mboweni was sworn in as the new Finance Minister in Cape Town, on Tuesday, October 9 2018.

Tito Mboweni, 59, became Reserve Bank governor in August 1999, when president Thabo Mbeki appointed him to the post.

He vacated the office when his 10-year term came to an end.

He holds a BA 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 Unisa and also holds a doctorate in economics, conferred by the University of Natal.

A staunch long-time ANC member, Mboweni spent 10 years in exile in Lesotho between 1980 and 1990. On his return he was appointed the head of the party's department of economic policy.

Mboweni, who now takes over at Treasury, had apparently set his sights firmly on the position of finance minister four years ago. He was suddenly withdrawn from the list of ANC politicians meant to serve as MPs after the 2014 general elections after it allegedly became clear that he wouldn't be considered for the position.

Sunday Times reported in May 2014 that then president Jacob Zuma's powerful leftist allies were against Mboweni being appointed as finance minister.

Cosatu and the SACP had apparently blamed Mboweni for government policies that they believed led to rising unemployment and growing inequality. Zuma appointed Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister in May 2014, replacing Pravin Gordhan, who served in the role from 2009.

Mboweni was always widely respected as one of the ANC's best brains on economic matters. He is making a comeback to cabinet after serving as labour minister during Nelson Mandela's tenure as president. His appointment comes as a shock, however, as he had previously ruled himself out of Ramaphosa's cabinet.

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