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Trump, Moyane and Mboweni...2018 in quotes

Dec 24 2018 08:09
Tehillah Niselow, Fin24

From Eskom to the SARS Inquiry, from Steinhoff's Markus Jooste in Parliament to President Cyril Ramaphosa's maiden State of the Nation address, 2018 was a quotable year. Here are some of the most memorable comments from local and international movers and shakers. 

Tito Mboweni 

“Against the wisdom of my team, please don’t tell them this. It’s between us, I am not available for Minister of Finance. You cannot recycle the same people all over again. It is time for young people. We are available for advisory roles. Not cabinet. We have done that.”- Tito Mboweni (February 2018). Tito Mboweni was appointed as finance minister in October to steady the Treasury ship, after the abrupt resignation of Nhlanhla Nene. His love for Twitter has caused some consternation among his team but he remains seemingly addicted to tweeting his cryptic thoughts about politics and the economy. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa

 “We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us, because a new dawn, inspired by our collective memory of Nelson Mandela and the changes that are unfolding, is upon us.”- President Cyril Ramaphosa (February 2018). In his maiden State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa attempted to inject a note of positivity after years of weak economic growth, rising unemployment and allegations of widespread corruption. His “New Dawn” has since faced questions of being a “twilight” as the country slipped into recession and load shedding.

Zethemba Khoza, former Eskom chairperson

“I think it's in [the] good interest of the country...after all the noise, it's better for me [to resign].”- Eskom chairperson Zethembe Khoza (January 2018). After months of negative news about Eskom, Zethembe Khoza’s resignation paved the way for a new board chaired by businessman Jabu Mabuza and new CEO Phakamani Hadebe. Alas, the damage was done and load shedding kicked in from the end of 2017. 

Tom Moyane, axed SA Revenue Service Commissioner

“Apart from having been appointed by former President (Jacob) Zuma and being hated by the media and others, what wrong has Mr Moyane actually done to deserve being stripped of all constitutional rights?”- Former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane’s affidavit (December 2018) Despite months of fruitless legal action to regain the SARS helm and damning reports by the Nugent Commission of Inquiry, Tom Moyane is taking his fight back to the Constitutional Court in 2019. His legal fees are also piling up as the Nugent report recommended he pay for the costs associated with several cases during his tenure. There’s also the finding that the National Prosecuting Authority should look into the discredited Bain & Co contract. Moyane was at the centre of securing the contract.   

Markus Jooste, former Steinhoff CEO 

"I am not aware of any accounting irregularities in Steinhoff…" - Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste (September 2018) In his first public appearance since the Great December Crash of  2017, Markus Jooste told MPs he blamed Deloitte for delaying the release of the financial statements for the share price slide which wiped 95% off the international retailers’ market value. He also castigated an Austrian business partner Andreas Seifert. Jooste is one of the more than 40 respondents cited in a multi-billion class action suit by disgruntled investors. He however doesn’t face official criminal charges yet. 

President Donald Trump 

“I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.”- Donald Trump (August 2018). The tweet that sparked a diplomatic frenzy in Pretoria with the country demanding an explanation from hapless US embassy staff. Trump appears to have taken claims he was tweeting “fake news” on the chin and ignored the hullabaloo. Although it might explain reports he’s planning to nominate a handbag designer as the US ambassador to SA.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Dalia Grybauskaite 

"Today we do not know what they want, they do not know themselves what they want. That's a problem."- Lithuanian prime minister Dalia Grybauskaite (October 2018). The Lithuanian head of state appeared to be speaking for the whole world battling to make sense of the UK’s chaotic exit from the EU. As the deadline of March 29 looms, SA is trying to sew up a deal which will continue the same trade agreement with Britain (the country's 6th largest trading partner). But this could all change if the UK leaves without a deal. And applying for a British visa from SA could become more difficult as the country prepares to tighten border security.    

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