‘Lame duck’ Tito Mboweni responds to criticism from DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis
Finance minister Tito Mboweni has responded to DA shadow minister Geordin Hill-Lewis' criticism of his authority over development plans to fund SAA.
Over the weekend, the public enterprises department (DPE) said the government will reprioritise R10.5bn to finalise the restructuring of SAA.
TimesLIVE reported that the airline's business rescue plan by the department follows a creditors' meeting called by the airline's business rescue practitioners on Friday, after government failed to provide funding for the restructuring of the airline.
The restructuring process is set to be brought closer to finalisation in the next few weeks.
Hill-Lewis opposes the rescue plan, calling on Mboweni to fight back, “dig in his heels” and refuse to fund the bailout.
He said should Mboweni allow the bailout, it will make him a “lame duck finance minister” who is no longer in control of government spending.
“SA needs a finance minister who will stand firm against political pressure and hold the line,” said Hill-Lewis.
“This battle is not just about SAA. It is about the principle that public money should not be poured endlessly into failing state-owned enterprises when other truly essential public services on which the poor depend are so underfunded. It is also about the credibility of the government’s commitment to fiscal discipline and economic reform.”
Hill-Lewis said this was a “critical moment” for Mboweni, who has previously said government should not and would not bail out SAA again.
“If he can’t win ‘no brainer’ fights like this, then he will never succeed in getting public spending under control, and there is little point in staying in the government.
“SA can't afford to have a lame duck minister who has ceded control of Treasury and is unable to lead the country on a path of economic reform,” he said.
In response, Mboweni said the criticism was “unhelpful”, and that ministers lose many battles in politics.
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@geordinhl: My dear friend. Dogma is unhelpful in politics. As a young politician,you should remember this. You will lose many battles along the way but don’t lose any wars! Be clear about Strategic and Tactical positions.Avoid being Absolutist in your reading of the environment.— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 19, 2020
In a series of tweets, Mboweni indirectly “schooled” Hill-Lewis about being a team player in politics.
In politics, you have to be a Team player. Read the environment and be humble. Decisions will not always go your way. But you have to accept or ship out!— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 17, 2020
Failure to understand the nature and content of politics could lead one to reach disastrous conclusions. A balanced approach is fundamental. In politics you have to be a Team member! You won’t like every decision but work through issues based on what is in the National Interest!— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 20, 2020
And respect your colleagues and those who genuinely desire for an unbiased and honest good outcome for our beloved country. Dogma is unhelpful wherever it comes from. “The sun will rise as surely as it does every morning! “. Mahube!— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 20, 2020
Finally, Do not Dance to the tune of those who want to undermine our Movement! They may sound good but with Hidden Agendas. They sound friendly but hey, Hayikhona! Kunjima kwa Sontonga! Be vigilant Comrades!— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 20, 2020
If ever one thought that they can walk alone in politics, then it is an apolitical and naive position. You walk with your comrades not alone! Yes, there are times of aloneness!— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 20, 2020