BARNEY MTHOMBOTHI: Much of Tito Mboweni’s power lies in his willingness to say what others cannot
He has walked into something of a minefield, but he comes to the job probably better prepared for it than any of his predecessors.
Until his appointment, the management of the country’s resources — the National Treasury, the Bank, etcetera — was almost seen as hallowed ground that was still the preserve of holdovers from the old apartheid order.
President Cyril Ramaphosa should always have his arm around Tito Mboweni, make sure he’s got a copious supply of his favourite cigars and ensure that — for some respite from the stress of the job — he repairs to Limpopo from time to time to tend to his small orchard of avos. Should Mboweni so wish, he should be at liberty to enjoy regular sojourns in a squeaky-clean Rwanda where — legend has it — he enjoys the title of honorary mayor of Kigali. Ramaphosa should have him wrapped in cotton wool. Mboweni is critical to his political fortunes. There was no good news in Mboweni’s budget speech last week. Our finances are in a shambles. Borrowing R1.2bn a day just to stay afloat is not just scary, it’s a disaster. No magician could make that sound palatable. The ANC has done an eminently good job of digging us into a hole. And, oddly, we expect it to get us out of it. Mboweni is not only useful to Ramaphosa as the man in charge of the public purse — although that’s important. There’s a de...