South African working class anxious over new ‘pro-rich’ finance minister

Tito Mboweni was formerly Governor of the Reserve Bank and is known for implementing anti-worker and neo-liberal policies in the country

October 18, 2018 by Peoples Dispatch
Titi Mboweni
Tito Mboweni has been appointed as the new finance minister for South Africa, triggering anxiety in the country’s working class. (Photo: WEF/Eric Miller)

The appointment of Tito Mboweni as the new finance minister of South Africa by President Cyril Ramaphosa has triggered widespread anxiety among the working class in the country. Tito Mboweni was former governor of the Reserve Bank and was instrumental in implementing pro-rich neo-liberal policies in the country during his tenure which had proved disastrous for the working class in South Africa. He also serves as international advisor of Goldman Sachs International. The new appointment was made when Nhlanhla Musa Nene resigned on October 9, due to allegations regarding his collaboration with the controversial Gupta business group.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) expressed their disappointment with the decision made by President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint former Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni, to the position of Finance Minister. This is because Mboweni has shown his hostility to the working class majority. NUMSA in their press release on October 11, had accused Tito Mboweni that, “during his tenure as governor of the Reserve Bank, he bent over backwards to champion neo-liberal macroeconomic policies of the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC). It is alleged that these disastrous policies have entrenched and empowered a small minority of white monopoly capitalists in the economy.

SAFTU Demands Change of Policy

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) said that it hopes that Mboweni will reject the economic strategies embraced by all his predecessors, which are based on “the dictates of international big business global financial institutions and credit ratings agencies”.

SAFTU also insisted that “more money must be budgeted to upgrade hundreds of dilapidated schools and hospitals, employ more teachers, doctors, nurses and community health-care workers, and step up the fight against drug lords and gangsters”.

Allegations of nepotism and corruption along with close association with the tainted business empire run by Gupta brothers had led former South African president Jacob Zuma to resign on February 14, 2018, which brought shame to the ruling ANC. After the resignation of Zuma, the government had gone hard after the cases against the Gupta brothers. The resignation of Nhlanhla Musa Nene is also a consequence of the nepotistic relationship which the government officials and politicians had with tainted business groups.