/ 22 May 2014

Mboweni clarifies MP list withdrawal on Facebook

Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni.
Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni.

Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni on Wednesday took to Facebook to clarify why he asked to be removed from the list of ANC members going to Parliament.

(Read the Facebook post below)

Mboweni explained that he had fruitful conversations with ANC leaders long before the elections about what role he could play in propelling the economy further.

He said the country needed deep-seated economic transformation.

Without going into detail, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe announced on Tuesday that Mboweni withdrew from the ruling party’s list for Parliament.

Mantashe would not be drawn on the reasons for Mboweni’s withdrawal, contained in a letter to the ANC. 

“I don’t think it would be ethical … to read a letter that Mboweni writes to the ANC … and we don’t think that should be done. He will be doing something different in the best interests of the country and himself.” 

Replace Finance Minister
Mboweni’s withdrawal followed speculation that he would replace Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan if he were not available for appointment or should he be deployed elsewhere. Gordhan, who is not at MP, was appointed in 2009. The law allows the president to appoint to his Cabinet two ministers and two deputy ministers who are not MPs.     

“The question is a strange question on why X member [Mboweni] withdrew [from the list] … Obviously Comrade Tito cannot withdraw from the list to go and stay at home,” said Mantashe to the Mail & Guardian.

“He [Mboweni] is quite an active person and member … he has withdrawn from the list, he will be doing something different that he thinks will be in the best interest of the country and for himself,” he added. 

As an ANC member with a wealth of experience from serving in the previous administrations, it was expected that Mboweni would be appointed in President Jacob Zuma’s new Cabinet. Zuma is likely to announce his new Cabinet this Sunday. 

Mantashe also announced that the ANC will be withdrawing another senior member from Parliament; a person who will replace Jackson Mthembu as the party’s national spokesperson and will be based at the party’s headquarters in Luthuli House. It’s not clear yet who that candidate is. – Sapa, additional reporting by Matuma Letsoalo, Andisiwe Makinana

Facebook post
Dear All. 

I feel bad about the way the media ambushed the SG about my withdrawal from Parliament. I had a good discussion with him in Parliament today. It’s not his fault but he was asked a question from the “floor” and he had to answer it. So this was not part of a planned communications plan at all.  

The facts: 

1) I have been in conversation with the leadership long before the elections about what role I could play in our economy. These have been extremely fruitful and comradely. The question was always about where I could better “deploy” my capacity and capability in order to assist in propelling our economy further. We need deep-seated economic transformation. We cannot proceed like we have been doing. Bold, decisive, courageous and responsible action is now needed.  

2) I have indeed submitted a very simple letter “requesting” the leadership to “release” me from the parliamentary list. This is factual. From the SG’s reply to a question from a journalist, it is clear that the leadership has responded positively to my request.   

3.1) I intend to stay in the private sector pushing economic transformation through amongst others, Mboweni Brothers Investment Holdings (MBIH) and MBIH Capital in particular. We need capital in order to drive economic transformation. Without capital, we are behaving like we are in a French breakfast picnic.
3.2) I will continue to work with universities and pass on my experience to the students. Incidentally, I am Hon Professor of economics at a number of universities. I very much enjoy this work. If the Minister of Higher Education does not block my nominations, I will also play a role as Chancellor or Chairman of Council at one or the other university.
3.3) Then I will continue to be an active member of the NEC Economic Transformation Committee and the ANC in general. This is an important task as we further refine policy for implementation not just academic conversations. I hope also to be active in one or the other state structure. The leadership will announce what role and where in due time. Please don’t pressurize them into unplanned announcements. There is a lot to be done. Let us be responsible. 

I have tried to be as transparent as possible to halt the uninformed conversations which have been going on since yesterday [Wednesday]. I am NOT letting our people and voters down. I could never do that. You will support my decision, I think, I hope. 

I remain, 

Your friend