The Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has never been one to take a swipe lying down, this time clapping back at the South African National Communist Party’s (SACP) General-Secretary Blade Nzimande after he lashed out at National Treasury over its handling of the R500 billion stimulus package.
Nzimande spoke during a virtual briefing held by the SACP’s central committee plenary on Sunday, 13 September 2020 and wasted no time taking aim at treasury.
“In court papers, the National Treasury has even gone so far as to say that it would be ‘immoral’ to honour government’s public sector wage agreement,” he said.
“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and huge economic and social distress, the South African Reserve Bank has been prepared to inject significant liquidity into the private banking oligopoly, but declined to provide a stimulus liquidity into public financial institutions like the Development Bank of Southern Africa and IDC Industrial Development Corporation of SA.”
Taking to Twitter, as he usually does, the minister hit back.
“What is this nonsense?,” he tweeted.
In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that R500 billion would be set aside to help the country economically navigate the coronavirus pandemic – part of which was obtained through loans, including with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Nzimande said while they commend Ramaphosa and government for the package, they were concerned it would not have the desired effect, particularly for the working class.
“A major social and economic infrastructure programme, to a massive expansion of public employment programmes, will either not take off, or will be so constrained by fiscal austerity, that they will fail to have the necessary strategic transformational impact,” he said.
Cosatu: Ramaphosa needs to act on corruption
The Congress of South African Trade Union’s (Cosatu) general-secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali further weighed in on Ramaphosa’s stance on corruption and his failure to address it, saying he needed to confront it directly.
“President Ramaphosa will not win the fight against corruption if he continues to be confrontation averse – he needs to start swinging a big axe if he wants workers to trust and believe in him,” he said.
“Half the purpose of the criminal justice system is deterrence, so law enforcement agencies need to target corrupt CEOs, senior managers, and politicians and send them to prison. Ramaphosa needs to know that workers remember his brave new frontier talk during his campaign for the presidency and those are the standards by which he is measured.”
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