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'Leave him alone!' Mboweni defends Motsepe over 'Africa loves Trump' quip

The African Rainbow Minerals CEO was caught on camera during a dinner at the World Economic Forum telling Trump that Africa loved him and America.

Patrice Motsepe. Picture: GovernmentZA/Flickr

JOHANNESBURG - "Leave him alone." That’s the message from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in the wake of the uproar regarding comments by business mogul Patrice Motsepe about US President Donald Trump and Africa.

The African Rainbow Minerals CEO was caught on camera during a dinner at the World Economic Forum telling Trump that Africa loved him and America.

Users on social media have reacted to the comments with shock and confusion, with many saying they are not sure which Africa Motsepe was referring to.

Motsepe was speaking at a dinner organised by Trump.

The US president shook his hand and gave him an opportunity to say a few words.

"…And all we wanted to say is that Africa loves America, Africa loves you. We want America to do well, we want you to do well. The success of America is the success of the rest of the world."

Many people have reacted to these comments with anger, questioning where Motsepe got the authority to speak on behalf of Africa, and why he "lied to Trump".

So are people overreacting?

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni seems to believe so.

"He was well within his rights to express his views and he was in a private meeting and they were having a private conversation."

And his message to all criticising Motsepe: "People must leave him alone."