At a Q&A in parliament on Tuesday, Deputy President David “DD” Mabuza made a statement about Finance Minister Tito Mboweni which has caused a stir on Twitter. Mabuza said: “I don’t really take the minister of finance seriously when he’s making comments”, adding that when the minister tweets, “it’s not a government position”.
Mabuza was discussing the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, something the finance minister has tweeted about in his personal capacity.
“I don’t think that’s the way we should approach this debate, whether there are certain entities that must be privatised, certain SOEs, this debate must not be approach this way,” the deputy president said.
“I don’t really take the minister of finance seriously when he’s making comments. These are his own comments,” he continued.
“We will take the minister serious when he’s articulating government positions. But when he’s talking about his views, when he’s tweeting, that is his own… I’m not going to entertain a tweet from the minister.”
Mabuza’s comments caused a stir on social media, inspiring comment from, among others, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, former Financial Mail editor Barney Mthombothi, former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko, and 702 and Cape Talk presenter Bongani Bingwa.
Shivambu simply posted a link to a video of Mabuza’s words, while Mthombothi asked why the public should take Mboweni seriously if even the deputy president doesn’t. Bingwa, meanwhile, said Mabuza “puts his foot in his mouth” every time he speaks in parliament.
Several Twitter users said Mabuza was right about Mboweni, while others said they didn’t take the deputy president seriously either.
Mboweni, who is currently in Zimbabwe for the Binational Commission, which seeks to strengthen ties between South Africa and its neighbour, has not yet responded.
Mboweni has advocated for greater socialisation of capital on Twitter. He trended in April, 2018, for a series of tweets in which he typed up a short prayer asking for leaders to open their eyes and ears and “do four things”.
“The state must own 40% of mining companies, start a state bank, implement appropriate land use planning, and create a sovereign wealth fund. That is radical economic transformation!”
Mboweni explained that, in his opinion, appropriate land use planning would involve demarcating land clearly for: “housing, agriculture, grazing, forestry, tourism, leisure, schooling, hospitals, etc. Now, before people do their own will.”
He added the most urgent task in this respect would be to: “allocate land immediately for residential purposes. Urgent. Really URGENT!!”
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) March 12, 2019
Does Mabuza understand the import of what he's just said? If the deputy president can't take the country's finance minister seriously why should the public and the international community for that matter take him seriously? Something will have to give https://t.co/k8wBHQIfZL
— Barney Mthombothi (@mthombothi) March 12, 2019
Mabuza's response is correct. It was very wrong for Tito to articulate on policy matters with no guidance from his political party. Tito's reckless statements on Eskom, SAA & other SOE's created unnecessary panic for hard working employees. This point of order was long overdue
— Vusumuzi Sekgobela (@ArnoldVusie) March 12, 2019
I don’t get your point. The ANC has a precise policy on privatization, and Mboweni deviated. Your dislike for Mabuza should not cloud your objectivity. Critical thinking is essential if you enjoy public commentary. Just saying. I also don’t respect Mabuza. https://t.co/o8oG8tPkPn
— Mansa Musa (@Mansabukwe) March 13, 2019
We may have found it funny what DD Mabuza said about Tito Mboweni, but it's not, DD gave the Coke smoking minister valuable advise about how one should carry themselves when they are in position of power.
— Mzukulu kaS'jingi (@Mtamerri) March 12, 2019
I don’t take both Mabuza and Mboweni serious pic.twitter.com/c7FTTXE31m
— Landless Native (@rakadimo24) March 13, 2019
When the deputy prezident of our cowntry does not take the finance minister siriyas,???????? should we cry or shall we sigh?
Translate from XITSONGA into English:
”Ku humelela yini laha? Mabuza u hlekula Mboweni”? pic.twitter.com/KcG4VXRc4S
— ProfTinyiko Maluleke (@ProfTinyiko) March 13, 2019
I think needs to looked at is that Tito has a tendency of talking without considering his comments properly, and when someone like DP challenges such comments we start to view Mabuza on wrong side.
We should be concerned on how protocol is observed by Mboweni…
— Bonga Dyafta (@Bongadyafta) March 13, 2019
Well nobody takes Mabuza seriously, do they? #clown
— Boosted_13 (@Boost13) March 13, 2019
This Tito Mboweni guy he has a tendency to condescend black people, I also don't take him seriously, as for Mabuza we know ANC likes to give us incapable, incompetent leaders we know that.
— NgwenyamaSboniso (@Sboniso_01) March 13, 2019