Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni’s Twitter presence has gotten mixed reviews.
Whether you love or hate the fact that the man tasked with leading the South African economy out of a recession is not beyond sharing his thoughts on Twitter, the minister does not look set to retire from the platform – as he threatened to do in September – anytime soon.
And while people have questioned Mboweni’s social media presence before this past weekend, the recent online rant declaring war on the media has not been well received. The DA slammed what they called a “meltdown” and the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said they were “deeply disturbed” by the tweets.
READ MORE: DA slams Tito Mboweni for Twitter ‘meltdown’
The Citizen reported on Sunday that Mboweni said he would do a live Twitter question and answer session on Monday at 11 am about the South African economy.
This morning, the minister said that the session had been postponed pending “consultations with Mr Fikile ‘Fearfokol’ Mbalula”.
Since Mbalula was downgraded to ANC head of elections after Cyril Ramaphosa’s first cabinet reshuffle as president, he is unlikely to have any serious advice for Mboweni regarding the economy. The tweet is, therefore, most likely a joke.
Some are not laughing though, with The Citizen reporter Amanda Watson questioning whether or not Mbalula’s tweets are becoming of a finance minister.
Mboweni’s online joke follows a series of tweets in which the minister declared war on the media.
He tweeted this past Thursday: “Wars start in different ways. Spears and shields, gunpowder, bullets, and now through media: printed and electronic (e.g. trade wars by a superpower president ), and then social media!! Well, the SA editors must be editors!! If needs be, we will be forced into the fight, WAR!
“Many people might not know this, I am a product of the warrior commanders of the mighty Zulu Army from the northern part of KZN, eNgwavuma, we fear nothing! We die only with spears on our chests NOT our backs. Mayihlome! We face the fire NOT run away from it. The time to be gentle is OVER. The line has been drawn on the sand! This far and no further.
“We fear nothing! We die only with spears [in] our chests, not our backs. Mayihlome! We face the fire not run away from it.
“The problem is that there will be COLLATERAL DAMAGE!!”
While the tweets have caused concern in some quarters, Mboweni told News24 on Sunday that South Africa should not worry: “We have been in conversations with the SA National Editors’ Forum. We have agreed to meet soon to discuss any issues that may have arisen from my communication. There is really nothing to worry about.”