🔒 Revealed: What Tito Mboweni REALLY thinks about SAA, Zuma and the ANC – FT

Tito Mboweni, finance minister and former central bank governor, is, I must confess, one of my favourite South African politicians. Along with Cyril Ramaphosa, he appears to be well-balanced, and genuinely working towards the best interests of the rainbow nation. Above all, Mboweni is very focused on fixing the key problems that hold back the economy and, ultimately, prevent the majority of South Africans from creating better futures for themselves. His interview with the Financial Times makes me like him even more. Instead of throwing out platitudes and going on a PR-offensive, Mboweni dropped his guard over a long day of eating and drinking. He was a generous host with his food and his insights. Here are some of the snapshots from his Lunch with the FT. – Jackie Cameron

By Thulasizwe Sithole

Tito Mboweni, finance minister under President Cyril Ramaphosa and a former central bank governor, has given insights into what he really thinks about ailing national carrier SAA, corrupt former president Jacob Zuma and the ANC in general.

In a wide-ranging interview with Financial Times Africa Editor David Pilling, Mboweni has shared his thoughts on the ANC’s report card.

Over breakfast, and then a braai accompanied by whisky and a glass of fine South African wine, Mboweni gave some fascinating glimpses into his thinking.

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These include that, if Mboweni had his way, SAA would be shut down. He said: “If it was my personal money, I wouldn’t put one cent into South African Airways. I’m not allowed to talk about it.”

Then, said the FT, his exasperation gets the better of him. “If I were running a chicken farm and I kept on putting in inputs but I wasn’t getting any eggs, I would close it down.”

When asked, in the interview just before elections in May, whether the ANC is in a real moral crisis, Mboweni responded, with a reference to Jacob Zuma: “Fundamentally we had a president who was captured by special interests.”

Much of the damage can be repaired through ongoing inquiries that, he told the FT, will lead to prosecutions. The FT put it to Mboweni that the ANC has become much like any other African liberation movement corroded by power.

“That’s a big mistake. It’s not like that. The ANC is a huge thing,” replied Mboweni.

“Properly organised and properly led, I have confidence that it can recover lost ground. What I see is a determination by this new leadership to reconstruct the political and ethical value system,” he continued.

The FT tells its readers that, when the ANC won power in 1994, Mboweni was appointed, at the age of 36, to Mandela’s first cabinet as labour minister and presided over far-reaching workplace reforms. Some, such as the 38-year-old leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, blame Mandela for failing to act more decisively in favour of the black majority.

“It’s easy for him to say. He was just a kid,” Mboweni said, adding that the ANC made various commitments to the white minority. “We did not defeat the Boers. We had to enter into negotiations. These youngsters were little. They need to be told again and again we did not win the war,” he told the FT.