Changes were ‘in line with Brics Bank practice’, not against Mboweni: Treasury

2017-08-11 11:54

National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane has replaced former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni as a non-executive director of the Brics New Development Bank.

Mboweni’s term came to an end on July 2 after he served a two-year term.

While Mboweni was available to be re-elected, National Treasury said that the decision to appoint Mogajane to the role was in line with how other countries elected their board members to the bank.

“The nomination of Mogajane by the Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba and subsequent appointment will ensure that no additional costs are incurred further by government in remunerating an appointment from outside of public service, while also enhancing strategic alignment and collaboration between the government of South Africa and the Bank,” National Treasury spokesperson Ntsakisi Maswanganyi said this morning.

Sfiso Buthelezi, deputy finance minister, has been appointed as the alternate governor of the New Development Bank for South Africa.

Prior to becoming a member of Parliament in March last year, Buthelezi was the chief operations officer of the Makana Investment Corporation – an investment vehicle for ex-political prisoners and their dependants.

He has been an ANC member since 1981 and formed part of the Ingwavuma unit that was sent to experiment with setting up the first military bases for the ANC in the country. He was arrested and sent to Robben Island for eight years, until 1991.

“Since I was 20, my life has been in the ANC one way or the other. I am 55 now. For 36 years I have been with the ANC, either in exile, in the bush, in jail, or working with politicians,” he told City Press last year.

An economist by profession, Buthelezi was awarded his BCom degree while on Robben Island.

He obtained an honours degree at the University of Cape Town after his release, and later completed a master’s degree.

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Monale Ratsoma, deputy director-general for economic policy at National Treasury, in his capacity as acting deputy director-general for international and regional economic policy, will continue to serve as alternate director of the National Development Bank for South Africa.

Ratsoma holds a master’s in economics from the University of Johannesburg. He has been at National Treasury for six years and previously headed its asset and liability management division. Previously, he worked as a chief economist for Thebe Investment Corp after a long stint as a senior macro strategist with Absa Capital.

“These appointments are also in line with the practice from the other founding members of the Bank (Brazil, Russia, India and China) whose representatives are from their countries’ ministries of finance and treasury departments,” said Maswanganyi.

This came as Mboweni said he was “removed” from his role at the bank in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

“I was ‘removed’ by the South African government as a non-executive director of the Brics Bank last week,” he said.

“They have their own logic and reasons for doing that. I served for two years and at the time of my appointment, I was told, via a letter from Minister Nhlanhla Nene, that the term was a renewable one. But alas, this has not been the case.

“Fired, you might say! It’s okay. They are the government of the day after all. They can do as they wish.”

He added in a comment to his post: “The government does not need to ‘supply’ reasons! They can decide based on their strategic plans. They don’t owe me or anybody an explanation.”

When President Jacob Zuma infamously removed Nene from his role as finance minister in December 2015, he said it was because he had nominated him to head up the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank/Brics bank.

In a statement after the event known as NeneGate, Zuma said the urgency of the change in leadership of the National Treasury was “occasioned by the need to send nominations to Shanghai, of the head of the African Regional Centre of the bank, to be based in Johannesburg”.

A year and a half later, Nene is still waiting to be appointed to the role.

“In a letter formally informing Mr Mboweni of the decision, Minister Gigaba has thanked Mr Mboweni for his excellent representation of the government of South Africa as a member of the board and chair of the audit, risk and budget compliance committee with commendable professionalism and dedication,” Maswanganyi said. – Additional reporting by Matthew le Cordeur, Fin24

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March 18 2018