President Cyril Ramaphosa has reprimanded Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for a tweet he posted on Saturday which criticised Zambian President Edgar Lungu’s sudden firing of the country’s central bank governor.
The presidency stated on Monday morning that Ramaphosa was not pleased with Mboweni’s comments and that they do not reflect views of the government and the country’s citizens.
Mboweni sent out the controversial tweet on Saturday in which he stated his intentions to mobilise support for Denny Kalyalya, whom he described as a good man. Kalyaya’s removal was announced on Saturday by the Zambian government.
“That governor was a good fella. Why do we do these things as Africans. The president of Zambia must give us the reasons why he dismissed the governor or else hell is on his way. I will mobilise!!” Mobweni wrote to his thousands of twitter followers.
Mboweni, who is also a former governor of the SA Reserve Bank, tweeted on Sunday that his comments might have landed him in trouble, but he maintained his stance on the need for independent central banks.
Mboweni tweeted: “Looks like I am in trouble about my statement on the dismissal of the Bank of Zambia governor. I stand by my statement. Central bank independence is key. Not negotiable. Let all central bankers speak out!”
The presidency stressed that South Africa had a long and strong relationship with Zambia.
“President Ramaphosa wishes to assure the government and people of the Republic of Zambia that the unfortunate remarks do 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.
“South Africa and Zambia enjoy strong historical relations dating back to the days of the struggle against apartheid. South Africa remains committed to maintaining the deep and solid bonds of friendship between the peoples of South Africa and Zambia,” the presidency said.
Kalyalya has been replaced by Christopher Mphanza Mvunga, a former deputy finance minister.