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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Stephen Grootes.]

On Tuesday afternoon President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that he had accepted the resignation of Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister, and was appointing Tito Mboweni in his place. The President’s actions were revealing about his fears and his motives. They may also suggest that there are longer-term problems within the ANC that are currently coalescing around this particular position. Still, in the short to medium term, it appears Ramaphosa has managed to steady the ship, providing the markets with the experience and belief in economic orthodoxy they crave at this particular moment.

Before examining the decisions and motivations behind President Cyril Ramaphosa’s move in appointing Tito Mboweni, it may be important to consider what this day in our history will be remembered for. It may not be remembered for the problems of the Zondo Commission and Nene’s lies, or for the appointment of Mboweni. Rather, in the longer term, it may be remembered as the first time in our democratic history that a person resigned from the Cabinet for ethical reasons.

Nhlanhla Nene is the first person since 1994 to do this. (Ethics were not a standout or defining feature of any Cabinet before 1994.) For that act alone, Nene will, and should, be remembered. There is something of a tragedy around Nene, of a man who stood up to so much that was wrong and financially incorrect, and yet was brought down for not being truthful about a series of meetings which appeared not to have affected his conduct thereafter.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.5% y/y in March 2019 (CPI) & +6.2 y/y in March 2019 (PPI)
1.4% q/q (4th quarter of 2018)
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