Former minister of public service and administration Faith Muthambi has come out with guns blazing, telling Finance minister Tito Mboweni not to be a “cheap populist”. Picture: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

Durban - Former minister of public service and administration Faith Muthambi has come out with guns blazing, telling Finance minister Tito Mboweni not to be a “cheap populist”. 

This comes after Mboweni on Wednesday blamed former ministers of public service and administration Richard Baloyi and Muthambi, saying it was during their tenures that government entered into above-inflation wage agreements.

"It's Richard Baloyi and Faith Muthambi who got us into this mess and they must be held accountable for this. They signed agreements outside the mandate and one of them has been made ambassador… This is unbelievable and we must call a spade a spade and not a big spoon," Mboweni.

Hitting back, Muthambi issued a strong-worded statement on Thursday, saying Mboweni was excited by seeing the cameras in front of him, hence the utterances. 

“I have learned with shock and dismay on how a Minister of Finance grossly misrepresent facts to a point of being irresponsible. In a cheap populism twist, the Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has taken a swipe at me as the former Minister of Public Administration for having put a strain on the fiscus by signing off wage agreements without mandates during my tenure as the Minister,” she said in the statement.

Muthambi added that had the minister taken time off his busy social schedule to read the agreement on the salary adjustments and improvements on conditions of service in the public service, he would have not only found out who the signatories were at the time to blame, but also discharged his duties with integrity and do justice to the office he occupies.

“It is clear that there is an absence of the Minister’s eyes and ears, and his lack of consultation has possessed him to utter such defamatory and irresponsible statement to the nation,” she said.

She said it was Mboweni’s colleague who signed the agreement and evidence is contained in a statement issued by his colleague in cabinet, dated 8 June 2018, Minister Ayanda Dlodlo who was the Minister of Public Service and Administration where in welcoming the conclusion of the wage negotiations, Dlodlo said: “As government we are glad that we have reached another multi-term agreement.”

“Minister Dlodlo thanked all the parties for working hard to ensure that this agreement is negotiated in the best interests of all public servants and the public at large. I challenge Minister Mboweni to produce evidence where I signed off this agreement. I want to put it on record that the wage agreement was entered into long after I was no longer part of the Executive and I am disappointed that my name seems to be the only thing in his vocabulary than him focusing on his duties at hand.

“He must apologise to the nation for peddling lies and explain what path he is crawling on. Mboweni must stop his verbal diarrhoea and being hellbent on playing the blame games and start applying his mind on how he can better contribute positively to South Africa than boosting his pompous ego any further. Trying to find scapegoats to justify his failures will not help him in any way.” 

Political Bureau