‘Free but not free,’ says Mboweni in Twitter meltdown over ‘collective’ decisions

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ANA

This was not Mboweni’s first disapproval of some decisions made amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. 

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has been criticised on social media following an apparent Twitter meltdown in which he complained about having to obey “collective decisions”.

Mboweni said he had been a free man before accepting the finance minister job, and now political constraints forced him to obey decisions made by the majority despite his disapproval.

“Not so long ago, I was a free man, no political constraints. Then I agreed, voluntarily to join Government. Tjoooo! Free but not free!! You have to obey the majority/collective decisions! Sometimes it feels like swallowing a rock!

“I have often asked myself the question: What is the art of politics? The Path to Power and how to stay in Power! And lead your People correctly. Corruption free. Why do people want to be in Power, actually? Why? It’s a poorly paying, thankless and abusive job,” said Mboweni.

The minister has been trending since, with South Africans calling on the ANC to call him to order as they have done in the past.

This was not Mboweni’s first public expression of disapproval of some decisions made amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

Mboweni said last week that he did not like the continuous ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco, but because he lost the debate in Cabinet he had “to toe the line”.

This after commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) Edward Kieswetter told the Select and Standing Committees on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations and Standing Committee on Public Accounts that the country had lost over R1.5 billion in revenue due to the ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco.

The ban was implemented as per the lockdown regulations dictated by the Disaster Management Act.

The ban on cigarette sales has divided opinion in the country, with some calling for a lift on the ban, while others commended President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision.

Following the announcement of the ban, British American Tobacco South Africa wrote to Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, threatening legal action should she not lift the ban.

The company announce yesterday it had dropped its planned legal action, for now.

“We are convinced that by working together we can find a better solution that works for all South Africans and removes the threat of criminal sanction from 11 million tobacco consumers in the country,” it said.

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