Mboweni douses talk of Finance minister post

JOHANNESBURG - Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni says he would like to continue taking care of his "expanding portfolio" of investments and responsibilities in the business world rather than return to a role in politics.

He resigned from his position as chairman of AngloGold Ashanti on Monday, heightening speculation in business and political circles about his intentions.

There has been talk over the past month that Mr Mboweni could be appointed minister of finance in the next Cabinet should the incumbent, Pravin Gordhan, not be available, or be deployed elsewhere in government.

The speculation gained traction after the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) Gauteng province nominated him to go to Parliament after the national election in May. The ANC is still to finalise its list of candidates.

But Mr Mboweni said in an interview on Monday his decision not to stand for reappointment to the AngloGold Ashanti board was based on "the need to focus on other things" in his portfolio. The miner echoed him in a statement and said: "As a result of his increasing portfolio of professional commitments, Mr Mboweni has decided not to stand for re-election as nonexecutive director at the annual general meeting to be held in May 2014."

Mr Mboweni said he resigned from AngloGold Ashanti because he had been on the board for four years. "I t was time to make a decision whether to stay for another four years or move on.

"It was a deciding point and in all fairness I was letting the company know in good time."

The founder and chairman of Izingwe Capital, Sipho Pityana, was elected to replace Mr Mboweni. Izingwe is the empowerment partner of AngloGold Ashanti and Mr Pityana has served on the board since the deal was done in 2006.

Apart from his role at AngloGold, Mr Mboweni serves on the boards of Nampak and of Sacoil, of which he is chairman. Since his term as Bank governor ended, he has set up a property company and an investment company.

He acts as an international adviser to several multinationals including French oil firm Total and US investment bank Goldman Sachs. In addition, he is a fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, where, he says, he is expected to spend time in residence.

"My thinking is that I will continue to take care of my expanding portfolio of interests and responsibilities," Mr Mboweni said. "Apart from my other directorships, I now have a property company called Accelerate, which was listed in December, and which has enormous potential.

"I also have an investment holding company, Mboweni Brothers, which my younger brother has complained I don’t pay enough attention to. I am intellectually occupied and enjoying what I am doing."

Mr Mboweni was voted onto the ANC’s proportional representation list for Parliament by the ANC in Gauteng. The final list, which would include only those available to serve in Parliament, has not yet been made public.

If he were to become an MP, Mr Mboweni would need to declare his business interests and directorships but would still be allowed to hold them. But were he to be appointed to the Cabinet, in terms of the Executive Ethics Act he would not be allowed to engage in any other remunerated work.

Mr Mboweni did not want to comment on the speculation on Cabinet appointments that newspapers "were running ahead of processes".

He has increasingly become active in public life. He has an active account on social network Twitter from which he regularly tweets, and has 45,000 followers.

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