‘Lame duck’ Tito Mboweni responds to criticism from DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis

Responding to criticism about yet another bailout for SAA, finance minister Tito Mboweni said ministers lose many battles in politics.
Responding to criticism about yet another bailout for SAA, finance minister Tito Mboweni said ministers lose many battles in politics.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

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.

In a series of tweets, Mboweni indirectly “schooled” Hill-Lewis about being a team player in politics.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X