The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Thursday it was disappointed by the appointment of former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni as new finance minister, saying that it spelt doom for workers.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday announced Mboweni as the new finance minister after Nhlanhla Nene resigned after admitting during testimony before a State capture commission that he should have been more upfront about his meetings with the controversial Gupta family.
Numsa president Andrew Chirwa said while he was Reserve Bank governor Mboweni had promoted maintaining high interest rates which had a negative impact on the economy and resulted in massive job losses as hundreds of manufacturing companies closed down.
"As Numsa we celebrated when Tito Mboweni's term as Reserve Bank governor came to an end," Chirwa said. "Mboweni is hostile to the working class majority. During his tenure as governor of the Reserve Bank, he bent over backwards to champion neo-liberal macro-economic policies, of the governing party."
He accused Mboweni of displaying "extreme arrogance" at the time by refusing to accept a memorandum of demands from Numsa members picketing against the effects of "the extreme social and economic difficulties that they were experiencing".
"Mboweni's appointment to this position (finance minister) can only mean more suffering is on the horizon for workers and their families," Chirwa added.
He said that the role of the Reserve Bank should change to focus on job creation, poverty eradication and mitigating the impacts and effects of global crisis.
The bank's mandate is to keep consumer inflation within a 3-6 percent target band, while also considering the economy.