Banking association commends Ramaphosa on Nene appointment

Cape Town - The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) has applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa's new Cabinet as a "significant step" in boosting investor confidence, in particular welcoming the return of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister.

In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, BASA managing director Cas Coovadia said the new Cabinet is a step in the right direction towards winning back much-needed investor confidence.

But he added it was not all good news. 

"While we welcome these changes for the most part, we remain justifiably concerned about the retention of compromised individuals still under the cloud of state capture and maladministration," he said. 

Coovadia said the banking sector is upbeat about Ramaphosa's decision to appoint Nhlanhla Nene as minister of finance.

"Ethical leadership at National Treasury is the most critical anchor point in our plans to grow our economy and to meaningfully drive an environment that legitimately promotes growth, creates jobs and lifts South Africans out of poverty," said Coovadia.

"Treasury must be entrusted to a leader who is untainted by the devastation of corruption and state capture."

Nene receives the nod

Nene was the country's finance minister for the first time between May 2014 and December 2015, when he was replaced by Des van Rooyen. Van Rooyen lasted only three days in the post, and was himself replaced by Pravin Gordhan. 

Now former finance minister Malusi Gigaba is set to stay in Cabinet as home affairs minister, a post he occupied between May 2014 and March 2017.

"What is critical, is that the president is showing progress on the commitments he made in his State of the Nation Address earlier this month," said Coovadia. "While this is just one of many steps still needed, we welcome the president's efforts to make these necessary changes."

Nene's return to the finance ministry has been widely welcomed by South African business advocacy groups.  

Business Leadership South Africa also cheered the decision, with its CEO Bonang Mohale saying that Nene is a “familiar face” and “steady hand”, who would give investors confidence in the economy.

Jabu Mabuza, the co-convenor of the CEO Initiative, said the body is "encouraged by the appointment of credible and experienced ministers in portfolios that require particular attention and are important for investor confidence, such as public enterprises, finance and mineral resources". 

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