South Africa: Mboweni's Maiden Medium-Term Budget Speech a Tricky Juggle for a Politician, Businessman, Farmer and Reserve Bank Governor

Finance Minister TitoMboweni has addressed National Treasury staff.
analysis

If ever there was a finance minister to deliver bad news, it's Tito Mboweni. Sworn in two weeks ago, he complained that President Cyril Ramaphosa had 'taken away' his freedom.

Then at the weekend the former businessman decided to stop the 'grumpiness' and roll up his sleeves for Wednesday's Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. Mboweni has firm views about South Africa's economy, society and ideology -- and he's stayed on message.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is sometimes described as egotistical, but more often as a straight talker who doesn't sugar-coat difficult issues.

He's not been shy to point out how South Africa's economy has changed so that 60%-plus of gross domestic product (GDP) is produced in the tertiary sector -- services, from banking, legal, finance, medical to transport and logistics -- and that's where future jobs must come from.

Or that the majority of South Africans live in urban and peri-urban areas, not agricultural heartlands, amid the raging debates on land expropriation without compensation for land reform.

In doing so Mboweni -- he serves on...

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