Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fat cats

This story just in from

Mboweni "open to third term" after 28 percent pay rise

PRETORIA. Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni has confirmed that he is open to serving a third term after he received a 28 percent pay rise this year. Mboweni's salary is now reportedly R3.8 million a year, or roughly equivalent to what a teacher earns in 27 years and a police constable in 40. "It's a dirty job," he said, "but someone's got to step up and take one for the team."

"Or take 3.8 million ones for the team, as the case may be."

Speaking to journalists this morning in Pretoria, Mboweni said that had not yet made a final decision over his future but would make an announcement once he had carefully considered his options.

It is believed most of his options are stock options in BEE companies with government contracts to build, demolish and rebuild public toilets in the Karoo.

Mboweni conceded that he had sometimes got tired of earning his previous salary, which was R2.9 million a year, and had at times yearned to "just be an ordinary Member of Parliament, spending weekends throwing empty whisky bottles over the wall, shredding wire-tap transcripts and doing donuts in my Beemer".

However he said that he had stayed on in the job out of a sense of duty, and because nobody else in the country, or indeed the world, could do what he did.

"Being Governor of the Reserve Bank is incredibly complicated," he said. "But fortunately I am almost supernaturally clever.

"Anyone other than myself who tried to do this would die instantaneously.

"They would whimper and then their heads would explode."

Asked why inflation was running at 12 percent while he was being paid R3.8 million a year to keep it between 3 and 6 percent, he explained that "numerous forces were at work".

He named these as "the Americans – both the superpower and the Cape Flats gang – oil, wheat, Helen Zille, the big machine they're building under Alaska that can control the weather, Helen Zille, malaria, space chimps, and obviously Helen Zille".

He also used the opportunity to announce that he would no longer be referring to himself as part of South African society in future statements.

"I cannot in good conscience continue to say things like 'We must all strive to tighten our belts as we face some severe economic challenges'," he said.

"I need to be honest with myself and with you, and let you know that from now on, you're on your own.

"So to recap: you need to tighten your belts, and you need to face some severe economic challenges, while I bathe in dachshund milk and have my scalp Botoxed."

The press conference ended on a sour note when one journalist asked him if he was turning into a fat cat.

A furious Mboweni denied that he was fat, insisting that he was "just big-boned" before storming out.

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