Jun 22, 2024

Enoch Godongwana takes over as finance minister from Tito Mboweni.

Enoch Godongwana takes over as finance minister from Tito Mboweni.

Enoch Godongwana was sworn in as the Minister of Finance today, following Tito Mboweni’s resignation. The newly appointed Finance Minister, was born in Cala in the Eastern Cape and matriculated from St John’s College in Mthatha.

He started his career in the trade union movement, first as a shop steward in the Metal and Allied Workers’ Union in 1979 and later as an organizer for the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa). By 1994, he was general secretary of the union and served on the executive of Cosatu.

Godongwana obtained an MSc degree in Financial Economics from the University of London in 1998, and entered politics, becoming the Eastern Cape’s MEC for Provincial Treasury, Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism from 1994 to 2004. Many businesses have welcomed the appointment of Enoch Godongwana as the new Finance Minister, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has strongly criticized it, likening his appointment to “putting a fox in charge of the hen house”.

The EFF said that Godongwana lacked credibility, capacity and understanding of systematic structural challenges that continue to face South Africa. But Business Unity South Africa’s Vice President, Martin Kingston, has praised Godongwana as a good leader. Meanwhile, Cosatu said that as reckless and outspoken former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was during his time at Treasury, Godangwana would not be any different.

“Having worked with Enoch in the Economic Transformation Committee of the ANC, in his view, we don’t think there’s going to be any difference between him and Tito Mboweni. And in fact, our view is they are two sides of the coin,” said Mike Shingange, the first Deputy President of Nehawu.

Regardless of all these critics, Godongwana stood up and said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth does not; on it translate to large employment creation, so extraordinary measures are necessary. In addition to this, Godongwana said that the rest of the country’s unemployed population should also be assisted, including through income support.

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