Treasury’s Fuzile off to his farm

2017-04-09 06:00
Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile in overalls on his farm near Elliot in the Eastern Cape

Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile in overalls on his farm near Elliot in the Eastern Cape

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Treasury boss Fuzile confirms he has resigned

2017-04-05 13:00

National Treasury director general Lungisa Fuzile revealed he resigned and will aim to leave by mid-May. Watch.WATCH

Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile, who quit this week, will be focusing on farming – for now.

While well known as a sterling technocrat, Fuzile, 51, is also a passionate farmer. Fuzile, known as the Man from Mqanduli, farms near ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in Elliot in the Eastern Cape.

His phone has not stopped ringing with job offers, but he is going to farm for a few months before deciding on a new role.

The job of Treasury director-general is an always-on, 24/7 affair, where your phone does not stop ringing, Fuzile says. He is looking forward to his farm and spending time with wife, Mveli, and his daughter.

“I want to be a proper family man, go to my daughter’s things at school and go on holiday without the phone ringing.”

Fuzile’s parents used communal land to breed livestock to feed an extended family of 20 people. They sold the surplus to boost the family purse. Now he farms both this farm and one in Mqandule and owns Brahman cattle, Savannah goats and Merino sheep.

He has not had time to attend to his farm and his village and there is infrastructure he wants to complete with his supervisors. Until now, Fuzile has tried to ensure he goes home at least once every two months to live true to his dad’s dictum that “the eye of the owner fattens the cow”.

“A good chat with him is one where he is wearing blue work overalls, carrying a stick and herding his sheep. He relaxes, laughs readily and can have long conversations,” says banker and former Business Day editor Songezo Zibi.

Fuzile tried to resign at the end of March, but on Thursday night, his former boss Pravin Gordhan got his marching orders as finance minister by President Jacob Zuma. He tendered his resignation to new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba this week.

Fuzile is one of South Africa’s most experienced civil servants, and holds a master’s in commerce and two bachelor’s degrees. He joined Treasury almost 20 years ago as deputy director for intergovernmental relations.

Later, he was responsible for asset and liability management and was a respected figure on the global financial scene. He made biannual trips to raise investment in South Africa.

All eyes are now on who will take over his job and whether Gigaba will recruit from inside or bring in his own person.

Treasury has a 20-year programme of growing its own timber. If he chooses to recruit from inside, the new minister has rich pickings: head of economic policy Monale Ratsoma; budget office head Michael Sachs; public finance management head Dondo Mogajane; head of asset and liability management Anthony Julies; and tax and finance sector policy head Ismail Momoniat.

Read more on:    treasury  |  lungisa fuzile

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