Citizen Reporter
Reporter
3 minute read
6 Aug 2021
11:21 am

Cyril’s talk about fighting graft was just ‘rhetoric’, says EFF on new finance minister

Citizen Reporter

Enoch Godongwana is set to take over as finance minister after Tito Mboweni tendered his resignation.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana. Photo: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius

Opposition parties have questioned President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint head of ANC’s economic transformation committee, Enoch Godongwana, as the new minister of finance.

Ramaphosa announced a much-anticipated Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday night, where he told the country that Tito Mboweni, who has long sought to be excused from his position of finance minister, had tendered his resignation.

The move will see Godongwana, who is currently chairperson of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, joining Cabinet for first time despite his vast experience in politics.

‘Shocked’

While the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have wholly rejected Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle, the Red Berets said they were mainly shocked at Godongwana’s appointment.

“The changes made in Cabinet have nothing to do with service delivery or efforts to revitalise the economy that continues to embody the apartheid economy. Instead, Ramaphosa’s changes are intended to serve the ruling party’s factional squabbles and reassure those in the CR [Cyril Ramaphosa] faction that their jobs and patronage network are safe for him to win the next ruling party conference. 

“The EFF is mainly shocked by the appointment of Enoch Godogwana as the finance minister. While Godongwana will continue with austerities and neoliberal policy posture that holds South Africa’s developmental objective ransom and serves capitalist interests, he has been preaching as chair of the ruling party’s NEC economic transformation subcommittee. His appointment is proof beyond reasonable doubt that Ramaphosa’s talk about fighting corruption was just rhetoric,” the party said in a statement on Friday.

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Godogwana was last in the country’s executive in 2012, when he resigned from his position as deputy minister of economic development “to pursue personal interests” in the face of growing outrage following a scandal over missing pension fund money.

The matter involved investment company Canyon Springs, which borrowed and lost R120 million of clothing workers’ pension funds.

This led to the collapse of Canyon Springs, which Godongwana and his wife Thandiwe held a 50% interest in through a family trust, according to Mail & Guardian.

A commission of inquiry was established to compile a report on the matter, in which Godongwana at the time testified that he was unaware that the loan came from a union pension fund.

‘Clear up the details’

Also reacting to Godongwana’s appointment, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said the 64 year old should start in his new position by clearing up details of the resignation.

“We regret the resignation of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and wish him well. The new finance minister, Enoch Godongwana, will have to demonstrate very quickly that he has the stomach for bold reforms and that he will not budge from fiscal responsibility.

“Godongwana should also start his term by clearing up the details of his resignation as deputy minister of economic development back in 2012 amid a massive fraud scandal. We need to know that our finance minister is beyond reproach, and for this we need his full disclosure,” Steenhuisen said on Twitter.

Background

Godongwana was born in Cala, Eastern Cape, and matriculated from St John’s College in Mthatha.

He started his career as a shop steward in the Metal and Allied Workers’ Union (Mawu) in 1979, later holding various position in the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) from 1983 to 1990.

He was Numsa’s general secretary and served on the executive and central committees of Cosatu by 1994.

Godongwana then obtained an MSc degree in financial economics from the University of London in 1998.

He has held some positions in government including serving as the deputy minister of public enterprises from 2009 to 2010 and as deputy minister of economic development from 1 November 2010 to 2012.

He has been member of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) from December 2007 and was a member of Parliament from 2008.