Twitter divided over Mboweni's support for his 'homeboy' Malema
Finance minister Tito Mboweni has caused a stir on social media after coming to the defence of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, whose home address was made public.
In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Mboweni lambasted the media for making Malema's personal details public, describing the EFF head as "my homeboy".
EWN reported on Tuesday that Malema lived in a house in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, owned by controversial cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti, who said there was nothing untoward about the arrangement.
Author and journalist Jacques Pauw tweeted full details of the property in the wake of the report. He later removed the tweet, saying he was asked by the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) to do so.
“Sanef asked me to delete the tweet with the address of Julius Malema’s house in Mazzotti’s complex. I thought it was justified to post his address as it is a guarded complex with state-of-the-art security. Sanef said it is wrong to do so. I accept that and deleted the tweet,” Pauw said on Twitter.
Pauw also came under fire for posting a picture of Malema and Mazzotti together with his business partners and Malema's son.
Pauw argued that the picture had already been in the public domain. "The EFF has also lashed at me for posting a picture last week of Malema posing with Mazzotti and his business partners. Malema’s child sits on his lap. That picture was posted some time ago on Facebook by one of the people that was there. It was already in the public domain," the tweet read.
The EFF has also lashed at me for posting a picture last week of Malema posing with Mazzotti and his business partners. Malema’s child sits on his lap. That picture was posted some time ago on Facebook by one of the people that was there. It was already in the public domain.— Jacques Pauw (@Jaqqs) December 3, 2018
Mboweni, in his tweet, took a swipe at those who published Malema’s personal details, saying the act deserved to be condemned.
His post has sparked a heated debate, with people divided on whether he should be making such remarks as a minister.
Twitter user Palesa Morudu criticised Mboweni for not calling Malema out for attacking journalists and the media at the Zondo commission of inquiry on state capture. “I wish you had said the same when Malema singled out journalists and commentators for attack outside the Zondo commission. I will wait for your adjectives on Twitter or the radio,” she told the minister.
Maurice Dlamini also took a swipe at Mboweni’s tweet, saying: “What's good for the goose must be good for the gander. Didn't your homeboy do the same to Pravin? Tomorrow he will turn on you. That’s how he operates. We are not fools. Big up to the investigative journos they must keep digging. We want the truth."
“No wonder Julius is so full of himself! He has the full support of the finance minister,” wrote another user, Regina Veronica.
Sanef treasurer Adriaan Basson responded to Mboweni’s tweet by telling him that the forum condemned the publication of Malema’s personal details, before adding: "We would also appreciate your condemnation of the abuse of journalists on this platform.”
Malema also responded to Mboweni’s post, telling him that his children were safe. “Thank you governor, the kids are safe,” he said.