🔒 Three times Tito Mboweni disagreed with the ANC

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is no stranger to dominating headlines for his outspoken views and colourful rants on Twitter. His latest comments on the axing of the Zambian central bank governor, Denny Kalyalya, have prompted the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa to release a statement distancing itself from his opinions. We look at three instances where Mboweni voiced his unpopular notions and found himself in hot water with the government and the ANC. – Bernice Maune. 

  1. Mboweni lashes out at Zambian President Edgar Lungu 

Mboweni was reprimanded by President Cyril Ramaphosa for making comments that potentially put a strain on the relationship between South Africa and Zambia. Over the weekend, the finance minister fired off a series of tweets at Lungu for sacking his central bank governor.

“Presidents in Africa must stop this nonsense of waking up in the morning and fire a central bank governor.”

“The governor was a good fella. Why do we do these things as Africans? The president of Zambia must give us the reasons why he dismissed the governor – or else hell is on its way. I will mobilise,” he said.

According to BBC, the ex-central bank governor of Zambia, Denny Kalyalya was fired because he had made several statements that the economy was struggling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, it seemingly wasn’t long before a call from the Union Buildings reached Mboweni. “Looks like I am in trouble about my statement on the dismissal of the bank of Zambia governor. I stand by my statement. Central bank independence is key. Not negotiable. Let all central bankers speak out,” he tweeted.

Though his comments were later deleted and Mboweni retweeted an article carrying the statement with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reprimand, he hasn’t officially apologised.

Ramaphosa’s statement read, in part: “In one of his tweets, Minister Mboweni is promising to mobilise if not given reasons why the Central Governor has been fired by President Lungu. President Ramaphosa wishes to assure the government and people of the Republic of Zambia that the unfortunate remarks do not reflect the views of the South African Government and its people.”

Zambia’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and Chief Government Spokesperson, Dora Siliya, also hopped on Twitter to express the Zambian government’s dissatisfaction with Mboweni’s tweets.

2. Nationalising the Reserve bank has the finance minister up in arms

At the beginning of the year, Mboweni used Twitter to express his disapproval for the ruling party’s resolution to nationalise the Reserve Bank. Mboweni said it was a mistake to adopt the resolution and questioned what the ANC wanted to achieve.

It wasn’t long before the former Reserve Bank governor was rapped over the knuckles, with the ANC admonishing him and calling him ‘ill-disciplined’.

“Our NEC [National Executive Committee] has already reaffirmed a resolution to return the sovereignty of SARB back to the people. We will continue to undertake the process towards full public ownership of the bank, in a manner which is prudent, affordable, and doesn’t benefit private shareholder speculators,” the ANC said in a statement.

That time around, however, Mboweni hit back, saying that it was time for a new way of thinking.

3. Mboweni disagrees with the government’s move to ban liquor and tobacco

The government’s stance on banning cigarettes and alcohol during the lockdown was a position that Mboweni did not agree with. According to Times LIVE, Mboweni argued to the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces that the ban would impact the economy negatively.

“I didn’t like the continuous ban on tobacco and alcohol but I lost the debate and therefore I have to toe the line.

“I know I’m losing a lot of revenue in the middle of being under pressure to spend but nevertheless that’s a decision of cabinet and I have to fall in line if want to (continue being) a member of the executive. If you can’t fall in line you must leave, so one has to fall in line in that regard,” Mboweni told Times LIVE.

He later tweeted being in government was limiting and one was not really free.

Read also: The Covid-19 budget: How Mboweni plans to pull SA out of a deep, dark hole

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