Harare – Former SA reserve bank governor Tito Mboweni wants to launch a solidarity fund for Zimbabweans – but not everyone is impressed.
While Zimbabwe’s current central bank chief John Mangudya desperately tries to canvas support for the much-maligned ‘bond notes’ he’s about to push into circulation, Mboweni says that “desperate” Zimbabweans are begging at traffic lights in South Africa.
“It saddens me every day to see destitute Zimbabweans begging on our street corners. Let like-minded people help,” Mboweni tweeted.
“Let us create a Zimbabwe Solidarity Movement to help our people. I volunteer to co-ordinate a solidarity program,” the former bank chief said, adding that he would “seed” R10 000. He appealed to South African firms operating in Zimbabwe to join in, indicating that he would instruct his bank to launch the fund on Thursday.
The response from many on social media was jubilant – but some expressed reservations.
Tweeted Raphael Goredema: “The initiative is commendable but it is a bit (of an) exaggeration to say all those who beg at street corners are Zimbos!”
Several asked why money couldn’t be raised for South Africans in need, with @AgneKwena saying: “What about South Africans who are In the same situation?”
There were also concerns expressed over why no-one in the South African government is willing to speak out against what is happening in Zimbabwe, where longtime president Robert Mugabe’s government is trying to quash a wave of protests triggered by corruption, poverty and a growing economic crisis.
The former South African bank chief has clashed before on Twitter with Jonathan Moyo, who is now Zimbabwe’s higher education minister.
Mboweni was in his post at the same time as Gideon Gono, Mugabe’s ex- personal banker. As Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gono presided over Zimbabwe’s pre-2009 ‘bearer cheque’ era and the hyperinflation that followed the overprinting of those notes. He was most recently in the news for losing a home in Harare over a 1.3 million US debt.