Tito Mboweni appointed new finance minister after Nhlanhla Nene’s abrupt resignation

Hugh Fox
October 10, 2018

Ramaphosa's spokeswoman told Reuters his office was not aware of Nene's request.

Mboweni, the nation's fifth finance chief in less than three years, will have to oversee an economy that's fallen into recession and help Ramaphosa rebuild confidence battered by nearly nine years of mismanagement under former President Jacob Zuma.

According to Bianca Botes of Peregrine Treasury Solutions, rumours of the finance minister's exit are casting a shadow over National Treasury and the currency.

In the latest flare-up of a widening corruption scandal, South Africa's finance minister has resigned from his cabinet post for failing to disclose his meetings with the controversial Gupta business family.

Opposition parties cited a South African media report that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had offered to quit, saying President Cyril Ramaphosa should dismiss him to show commitment to clean government in one of Africa's biggest economies.

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The Gupta brothers are accused of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions including unfairly winning state contrcats.

Mr. Nene had previously denied any private meetings with the Guptas, but he finally admitted them last week during his testimony to a national inquiry into state corruption.

Both the Guptas and Mr Zuma deny the allegations.

"I am human too, I do make mistakes, including those of poor judgement", Nene said.

In December 2015, Zuma fired Nene and replaced him with little unknown ANC MP Des van Rooyen.

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Mboweni, who trained as an economist, served as head of the South African Reserve Bank for a decade until 2009 and for four years as labour minister in former President Nelson Mandela's cabinet.

All eyes will now be on a much anticipated announcement by Moody's on SA's sovereign credit rating on Friday, and Mboweni's maiden medium-term budget policy statement in two weeks.

The rand and the country's bonds gained as traders welcomed the appointment of Mboweni as finance minister.

He added that Nene feared his testimony to the inquiry "detracted from the important task of serving the people of South Africa particularly as we work to re-establish public trust in government".

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