Agri sector welcomes Mboweni’s appointment

Tito Mboweni
New Finance minister, Tito Mboweni.
Photo: Department: National Treasury

The agriculture sector has reacted positively to the appointment of former SA Reserve Bank Governor and labour minister, Tito Mboweni, as South Africa’s new finance minister.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement on Tuesday after he confirmed the resignation of outgoing finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

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In his statement to the media, Ramaphosa said: “there has been much discussion among South Africans on matters that arose in the course of the testimony of Minister Nhlanhla Nene at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. He has indicated that there is risk that the developments around his testimony will detract from the important task of serving the people of South Africa, particularly as we work to re-establish public trust in government.”

According to media reports, it had emerged during Nene’s testimony that he had met with members of the Gupta family at their home in Saxonwold, despite previously denying this.

Agriculture role players, including Agbiz CEO, Dr John Purchase, and agricultural economist Prof Johan Willemse, described Mboweni as someone with a good grasp of the economy and global money markets.

Agri SA’s head of economics and trade, Dr Requier Wait, said the organisation believed that Mboweni had the necessary experience.

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Purchase said Agbiz welcomed the appointment as it was believed this would bring greater certainty to the country.
In addition, Mboweni had built up a solid reputation in the international community during his time as Reserve Bank Governor, which could bode well for restoring investor confidence.
According to Willemse, the strengthening of the rand directly after Ramaphosa’s announcement was an indication that there was trust in Mboweni.
He added, however, that there were still years of economic recovery ahead and he was not anticipating further strengthening of the currency in the short term.
The currency would continue to weaken for the remainder of the year, as South Africa was vulnerable to economic trends affecting emerging markets across the globe, Willemse said.
Purchase concurred that South Africans should not expect immediate economic recovery as the country’s economy had “huge structural problems” that could not be mended overnight.
“It will require a concerted effort from business and government.”