Mboweni coy on future as Zuma seeks ‘ethnic blacks’

2014-05-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni hopes to still play an active role in President Jacob Zuma’s new government, not as a member of Parliament, but as a businessman.

Mboweni posted on Facebook that he is not on the ANC’s bench because he plans to focus on his businesses, Mboweni Brothers Investment Holdings (MBIH) and MBIH Capital.

This means he is not likely to become South Africa’s next finance minister, as had been widely speculated.

Mboweni said he had been in talks with the ANC leadership long before the elections on which role he could play in the country’s economy.

He said the main question was always about where he could use his abilities and skills to best advance the economy.

He said South Africa needed deep-rooted economical transformation. “We cannot continue as we are. Decisive, brave and responsible action is needed.”

It is however not impossible for President Zuma to still include Mboweni in his cabinet. The law allows the president to include two ministers and two deputy ministers who are not members of Parliament in his cabinet.

It will however have to be a position which does not pose a conflict of interest with Mboweni’s businesses.

Mboweni yesterday only said in a statement he would remain an active member of the ANC’s sub-committee on economic transformation and he also hopes to be active in some state structure.

He said the ANC leadership would announce his role when the time was right.

Mboweni said he was not at liberty to say what this role may be, but people and the voters should not think he was disregarding them. “I will never do that. You will support my decision, I think, I hope.”

Mboweni’s office said more information may be forthcoming after Zuma announces his cabinet on Sunday.

Zuma is expected to make sweeping changes as regards the ministers responsible for economic portfolios in the new cabinet.

A reliable source in the cabinet, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the president wanted to move away from the use of “non-ethnically black ministers” in the economic portfolios.

“There is a concern that a habit has developed to appoint Indians and whites in the important economic portfolios.

“This term President Zuma may appoint two ethnically black ministers in the three main economic portfolios,” the source said.

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