Mboweni appointment spells doom for working class – NUMSA

Finance minister bent over backwards to champion neo-liberal macro-economic policies while SARB governor

Tito Mboweni appointment as Finance Minister spells doom for working class

11 October 2018

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is disappointed by the decision made by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to appoint, former Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni to the position of Finance minister. This appointment was made in response to the scandal surrounding Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, who disgraced himself when he revealed that he had lied about his interactions with the Gupta family.

As NUMSA we celebrated when Tito Mboweni’s term as Reserve Bank governor came to an end. This is because Mboweni is hostile to the working class majority. During his tenure as governor of the Reserve Bank, he bent over backwards to champion neo-liberal macro-economic policies, of the governing party, the ANC. These disastrous policies have entrenched and empowered a small minority of White Monopoly Capitalists in the economy. In the last two decades of ANC rule, the African working class majority continues to suffer crippling poverty and unemployment, just like they did under Apartheid. They have not tasted genuine freedom and equality. 

Mboweni actively promoted maintaining high interest rates. This had a negative impact on the economy and resulted in massive job losses, because hundreds of manufacturing companies closed down as a result of these policies. This crisis caused our members to march to his office in May of 2009 to hand over a memorandum on these and other issues. He displayed extreme arrogance when he refused to accept the memorandum of demands from our members, who were picketing peacefully about the effects of the extreme social and economic difficulties that they were experiencing at that time. Those conditions have worsened since he was at the helm, because the right-wing macro-economic policies which he actively pursued, together with his partner in crime, former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, have intensified the suffering of the working class, and strangled what could potentially have been a very vibrant and productive manufacturing and industrial sector.

Furthermore, Mboweni has displayed willful ignorance of the dire economic hardships faced by the working class majority. An example of this was on the 22 October 2009, he made some very disturbing remarks about the impact of the 2008 Global recession. With the conviction of a self-righteous AIDS denialist, he made this outrageous remark:

We are experiencing a mild recession; it is not severe. If it was severe we wouldn`t have so many cars on the roads and people buying these large houses," he said. "Though spending patterns have come down ... [they did not fall to levels] of a severe recession."

In 2009, when we were still part of the ANC-alliance, we correctly characterized him as follows:

Mboweni’ s world-view is consistent with the 1996 Class Project: co-option by White monopoly capital to weaken the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and reverse the gains of the 1994 democratic breakthrough. As NUMSA, we are eagerly awaiting Mboweni’ s departure at the helm of the Reserve Bank. His long overdue departure provides the ANC Alliance an opportunity to review the role and mandate of the Reserve Bank. We call on Mboweni to start packing his bags, and to vacate the Bank, as opposed to his nauseous public ranting. We hope that his absence from public office will accord him time to rethink his role in the Alliance and our revolution, and hopefully, fix his head.”

As NUMSA we have always believed that the role of the Reserve Bank should change to focus on job creation, poverty eradication and mitigating the impacts and effects of global crisis. The likes of Mboweni, Manuel and of course, Ramaphosa, have been actively working to reverse the revolutionary agenda of the liberation movement. They have used their power to advance the power of the elite minority, and cement monopolies in our economy.  They reject the values of the Freedom Charter, and are obstacles in transforming the economy, so that it benefits the working class majority. The decisions they have taken, as members of the governing party, ANC, are directly responsible for intensifying high unemployment and poverty levels in our country, and making South Africa one of the most unequal societies on earth.

The working class must be vigilant. Mboweni’ s appointment to this position can only mean more suffering is on the horizon for workers and their families. The only weapon we have against these dark forces is the unity of the working class. Our ultimate goal must be to smash the neo-liberal capitalist system and replace it with a humane, genuinely equal, Socialist society, where the working class majority own and control the means of production. The working class are the creators of wealth and they should benefit. We have pledged to fight for genuine freedom and equality for the working class majority. This is not a battle we intend to lose.

Aluta continua!

The struggle continues!

Issued by Andrew Chirwa, NUMSA President, 11 October 2018