'I did not like BLF tweet dissing Gordhan' - Mboweni insists

2018-11-20 13:35

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has denied liking a tweet by Black First Land First (BLF) spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp that is highly critical of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. 

"I do not know how that happened," Mboweni told News24 on Tuesday. "The last tweet I remember liking was one by Sol Kerzner."

Mboweni jokingly said the "goon squad" could be behind the like.

"I totally would not like something like that." 

The tweet received nearly 200 likes, one seemingly from Mboweni. 

"We must never forget those who organised with settlers, sat and plotted with the coloniser and marched arm in arm to defend Pravin Gordhan and to remove President Zuma; all to please Rupert," Maasdorp tweeted ahead of Gordhan's testimony at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture in Johannesburg on Monday.

The minister told News24 he had since "unliked" the tweet. 

Mboweni said he had been receiving many calls about the incident, which has been a major distraction.

"I have to concentrate on the budget," he said. 

"I would never like something that criticises a Cabinet colleague," Mboweni stated. 

'Gordhan most captured in the country'

News24 earlier reported that Maasdorp's Twitter account contains many anti-Gordhan statements including some that accuse him of being a "Gupta accomplice".

Gordhan - who made a comeback to Cabinet earlier this year under President Cyril Ramaphosa after being axed by former president Jacob Zuma - started giving evidence at the inquiry on Monday.

During Gordhan's testimony, groups of BLF and EFF members demonstrated outside the building where the inquiry is being held.

Both organisations called for Gordhan to step down following revelations that he had also met with the Gupta family.

"We don't think Pravin Gordhan is fit to hold office in this country," BLF deputy president Zanele Lwana told News24.

"He is the most captured person in the government of this country."

She said there was overwhelming evidence that Gordhan was an "agent of white monopoly capital" working for Johann Rupert and the Oppenheimer family.

'Attack on colleague makes no sense'

Mboweni's spokesperson, Jabulani Sikhakhane, said earlier on Tuesday that Mboweni was surprised to find that his account had liked the tweet as the minister had "never seen the tweet before".

"Maybe someone hacked the minister's Twitter account, we don't know," Sikhakhane told News24.

"He didn't like the tweet, it wouldn't make sense as it would be an attack on a colleague."

The matter was being investigated, he said.

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