Finance Minister Tito Mboweni Picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni insists Deputy President David Mabuza does take him seriously.

This was after Mabuza on Wednesday slammed Mboweni in Parliament for using Twitter to air his views on government work on state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

On Wednesday Mboweni insisted to MPs, during questions to ministers in the economics cluster, that Mabuza was taking him seriously.

Alf Lees of the DA had said he (Lees) was taking the views of Mboweni seriously, unlike Mabuza.

He was backed by his colleague in the DA Natasha Mazzone, saying Mboweni’s views on Twitter were serious and needed to be treated as such.

Nazier Paulsen of the EFF also said he was taking Mboweni’s views seriously.

Mboweni said he believed Mabuza was taking him seriously when expressing opinions. The DA had asked him on the sale of non-core assets of SOEs.

Mboweni said: “I can promise you that the Deputy President takes the Minister of Finance seriously. Do not pick and choose what the deputy president said and use it wrongly.”

He said they were looking at various options to improve the balance sheets of SOEs. One of these things was the sale of non-core assets.

“One of the privileges I have as minister of finance is I know which assets are performing and which are not performing well.

“I don’t know why you complicate simple things. If you are a provider of rail service and you happen to create a telephone, the telephone is not your core function.

“If your function is to grow tomatoes and in the process weed starts growing, get rid of the weed because it is not your core function. I hope this analogy will help you,” said Mboweni, refusing to disclose non-core assets that could be sold.

Mboweni has said in the past he would prefer SAA to be sold because it was eating into the fiscus.

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan told Parliament one of the options they were looking at was to bring in strategic equity partners to the SOEs, on a case-by-case basis.

Political Bureau