Editorial |Welcome, Mboweni. So long Nene

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomes Tito Mboweni to cabinet.
President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomes Tito Mboweni to cabinet.
Image: Esa Alexander

President Cyril Ramaphosa's appointment of Tito Mboweni as new finance minister is a sensible decision that should be welcomed by all.

Although Sowetan would have preferred a younger minister with fresh ideas and stamina to run the country's finances for at least the next six years, we understand the need for the president to respond to market jitters by giving the job to a tried and tested hand.

Mboweni excelled during his tenure as the governor of the Reserve Bank and his track record in cabinet, where he served under president Nelson Mandela as labour minister, is impressive.

We have no doubt he will bring about stability in National Treasury and continue the good work his predecessor Nhlanhla Nene was doing before he was tripped off the post by his failure to disclose the full extent of his association with the controversial Gupta family.

For years considered one of the conservative leaders within the ANC when it came to economic policies, Mboweni has over the past few months spoke firmly in favour of measurers that may speed up economic transformation and give access to opportunities in business for those who were excluded by apartheid.

We hope this attitude would not dissipate with his joining the cabinet. Over and above ensuring that SA's finances are in order, we urge Mboweni to treat National Treasury as an important vehicle towards changing our country into a truly nonracial economy.

We would also like to salute the former finance minister for taking the extraordinary step, in the context of South African politics, of falling on his sword.

Too many politicians, especially in the governing party, hold on to their jobs unnecessarily even when it is clear that they had done wrong and their continued presence in those positions affects the government's ability to deliver on its mandate.

We agree with Ramaphosa that it is a measure of Nene's "character and commitment" to the country that he opted to resign rather than argue that he "was innocent until proven guilty" like so many of his colleagues when accused of misconduct.

Despite his failure to disclose his meetings with the Guptas early enough, Nene served SA with distinction.

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