Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has reportedly apologised to Zambia for any offence caused by a tweet he made disparaging Zambian Airways. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - South Africa’s Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has reportedly apologised to Zambia for any offence caused by a tweet he made disparaging Zambian Airways during a stopover in Lusaka while on his way to Kigali, Rwanda after attending the African Union‘s 12th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State in Nihamey, Niger.

Mboweni reportedly tweeted: “I recall the days when this airport was populated by the Zambia Airways fleet. There is none now. Zambia Airways does not exist anymore. Reality check. But I am on Rwanda Air. A small African country doing big things.”

An angry statement was subsequently released by the Zambian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in which it said Mboweni was enlightened as to the progressive strides Lusaka had taken in the aviation sector, according to a Monday report in the Lusaka Times and other Zambian news outlets.

According to the statement released to the media by Inutu Mwanza, the First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji stated that his country has made critical investments in national airports in Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone in excess of $1 billion.

Malanji added that Zambia’s international traffic has also grown tremendously with numerous daily flights from Dubai, South Africa, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Furthermore, there were plans in the pipeline which were now at an advanced stage to reintroduce a national carrier.

However, in the letters pages of the Lusaka Times, many Zambians said the South African minister had no reason to apologise because what he was saying was true, while others pointed to a litany of South Africa's problems including corruption, xenophobia and load shedding and suggested that Mboweni perhaps focus his attention on those.

African News Agency (ANA)