Business leaders hail Mboweni's appointment as 'among finest in recent memory'

The immediate reaction from organised business to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Tito Mboweni as South Africa’s new minister of finance on Tuesday afternoon was overwhelmingly positive.

Ramaphosa announced Mboweni, the former South African Reserve Bank Governor, as the country’s new finance minister on Tuesday afternoon after accepting Nhlanhla Nene’s resignation earlier in the day.

Ramaphosa made the announcement from Tuynhys in Parliament, Cape Town, amid speculation that he would relieve Nene of his duties following his testimony to the State Capture Commission of Inquiry last week.

During his testimony Nene admitted to meeting members of the Gupta family at their private home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, on a number of occasions between 2009 and 2014. He had not previously acknowledged the meetings and was quick to issue an apology for the "lapse in judgement".

On Tuesday afternoon the CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce Alan Mukoki hailed the appointment of Mboweni as one of the finest ministerial appointees in recent memory.

"Without any doubt, this is an impressive appointment. We were nervous and anxious about Nene’s departure and what might have happened if he did not go. Mboweni is proven as a reserve bank governor and in labour, aligning labour with business, as someone who piloted the Labour Relations Act," said Mukoki.

Mukoki added that Mboweni would be an asset to National Treasury and government at large, due to his "balanced approach to policy, great intellect and a great understanding of international markets".

Business Unity South Africa said in a statement that while the circumstances and the timing of Nene’s resignation were regrettable, business "welcomes the appointment of Tito Mboweni as the new finance minister".

"Mboweni comes with a long track record in government and brings with him the necessary credibility among social partners, as well as the expertise to provide steady leadership in National Treasury," said BUSA.  

Banking Association of South Africa's managing director Cas Coovadia said Mboweni would have to win and maintain the confidence of the financial markets as well as the business and investor communities, while facilitating inclusive economic growth, job creation and social development.

"As a former labour minister, he will understand that addressing the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality, are as important as maintaining fiscal discipline and the stability of the financial system," said Coovadia.

Founder and CEO of M&C Saatchi Abel Group Mike Abel took to social networking website Twitter to convey his congratulations to Mboweni on his new appointment.

"Welcome back, Mr Mboweni. Massive job, but so much potential to return our country to greatness. Engage big business - harness the massive talent of corporate and entrepreneurial SA and unleash some of best brains in the world to partner and help you fix our country," said Abel.

Black Business Council president Sandile Zungu said in a statement, "Mr. Mboweni is a veteran who served as Minister of Labour under President Nelson Mandela from May 1994 to July 1998 and as such, he is the right person to steer the country out of the financial challenges that we currently face".

Chris Eddy, senior investment analyst at 10X Investments, says the news was positive.

“Nhlanhla Nene has been replaced as Finance Minister by Tito Mboweni, who the markets have a lot of faith in,” said Eddy, who heads the investment team at the disruptive asset manager.

“Through his long tenure as Reserve Bank governor, Mboweni presided over a period of relatively consistent and stable monetary policy and I think the markets would be relatively confident with him at the helm of the South African Treasury.”

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse also welcomed Mboweni's appointment, and commended Nene for submitting his resignation over his failure to declare and disclose the Gupta visits that ultimately cost him the job.

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