Cosatu labels Mboweni a ‘liability' and calls on Ramaphosa to act, but can he?

Mboweni has been publicly reprimanded by President Cyril Ramaphosa after he used Twitter to comment on the sacking of Zambia’s central bank governor.

FILE: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Pictures: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – While the President has reprimanded Finance Minister Tito Mboweni over his latest utterances on social media, questions are being asked about whether Cyril Ramaphosa has the grounds to do so.

Over the weekend Mboweni took issue with the President of Zambia, asking on Twitter why he had fired the country's reserve bank governor – adding that "hell is on its way” and warned he would mobilise.

Ramaphosa issued a hard rebuke while assuring his Zambian counterparts that the minister's views do not reflect those of the South African government.

Cabinet ministers do not have a social media policy, which raised questions about the President's actions.

African National Congress (ANC) alliance partner the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has described Mboweni as “a liability”.

Although the Finance Minister has deleted the Twitter posts about his criticism of Zambian President Edgar Lungu after he fired his central bank governor, Cosatu said this behaviour was nothing new.

The federation’s spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, said Mboweni had undermined Cabinet and Nedlac resolutions publicly for some time now, and he’s taken his “unacceptable behaviour” beyond South African borders.

“This is something that is not acceptable. We hope President Cyril Ramaphosa will show that the center is still holding by putting him in his place and swing the big axe if necessary.”

Meanwhile, Mboweni has defended himself, saying his remarks were not meant to cause a diplomatic row.

While the President has officially reprimanded the finance minister, it’s not clear on what grounds he’s done so.

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