Ex-South African right-wing party leader blasts Ramaphosa over Mboweni diplomatic row

December 01, 2014. DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane gives his party's scorecard of the government over the past year, Cape Town. Pic: Trevor Samson. © Business Day

Johannesburg – One South Africa Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has lambasted President Cyril Ramaphosa over his decision to reprimand Finance Minister Tito Mboweni over his comments about the removal of Zambia’s central governor by Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu.

Maimane on Monday night accused Ramaphosa of allegedly being silent on human rights violations and police brutality in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

In his tweet, Maimane said: Can we see the same level of energy from you @PresidencyZA. In the same manner that you strongly reprimanded @tito_mboweni for his comments on President Edgar Lungu in Zambia.

“Can you issue the same level of strong reprimand to @edmnangagwa for the behaviour of his police force.”

Supporters of EFF and its leader Julius Malema condemned the decision not to remove Mboweni from the Ramaphosa Cabinet.

Mboweni posted his comments on Twitter at the weekend, saying: “Presidents in Africa must stop this nonsense of waking up in the morning and fire a central bank governor! You cannot do that. This is not some fiefdoms of yours! Your personal property? No!

“The president of Zambia must give us the reasons why he dismissed the governor or else hell is on his way. I will mobilise!”

Mboweni remained defiant after Zambia’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Dora Siliya reacted with disdain to his Twitter comment.

Siliya said: “We are very surprised with Tito Mboweni’s immature and improper criticism of a sovereign decision by Zambia. The minister should be attending to Covid problems facing the South Africans We will pursue the matter diplomatically.”

Mboweni hit back: “I stand by my statement. Central Bank independence is key. Not negotiable. Let all central bankers speak out!”

Ramaphosa said he wished to assure the government and Zambians that the unfortunate remarks did not reflect the views of the South African government and its people.

“The issue is being addressed to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.”

The ANC has also urged former finance minister Trevor Manuel to “use appropriate platforms,” including experience gained over the years, in sharing ideas that would help shape the country’s economy for the better.

This comes after Manuel allegedly said, at a webinar hosted by the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office and Hanns Seidel Foundation, that the ANC’s 26 years in power since the dawn of democracy in 1994 were “almost three decades wasted”.

In a statement, the ANC said that Manuel should not fall into the trap of blasting the ANC as its detractors had done.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said: “We urge all peace-loving South Africans, including Manuel, to use appropriate platforms, including their expertise and experience gained over a period of time, to bring about ideas that will help shape our economy for the better. Forging a new social compact requires that we all work together united in our diversity.”

Manuel refused to comment on Monday, saying that he was busy.