Treasury boss Fuzile confirms he has resigned
Cape Town – National Treasury director general Lungisa Fuzile revealed he resigned and will aim to leave by mid-May.
In an exclusive video interview with Fin24 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Wednesday, Fuzile said he wrote his resignation letter to former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last week.
This followed the removal of Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, from their leadership roles at Treasury. Malusi Gigaba and Sfiso Buthelezi replaced them respectively.
Fuzile told Fin24 that it is the prerogative of Gigaba to decide whether he should remain in his position for longer or shorter than he requested.
Fuzile said his main aim was to retain stability at Treasury and to ensure a smooth handover period.
Cabinet extended Fuzile’s contract by two years in April 2016.
Treasury on Wednesday confirmed Fuzile's imminent departure.
The full video interview, Fuzile looks back at his time at Treasury.
He explains how the professionalism shown at Treasury inspired his work, where people were able to debate any position, as long as it was backed by facts.
In the wide ranging interview, he also spoke about:
- the impact of S&P’s ratings downgrade
- the effect that another downgrade by a further ratings agency (like Fitch) could have
- the effectiveness of creating a new ratings agency, such as a BRICS ratings agency moving SA to a position where it can rely less on foreign debt to fund government spending
Fuzile told Fin24 by sms on Tuesday that "if and when I leave, I will endeavour to ensure that such a step is orderly and not harmful to the stability of Treasury as an important fiscal institution".
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that three sources told them he would leave by the end of April, which is not accurate now, as Fuzile said his letter to Gordhan indicated he wanted to leave in mid-May.
Asked about the possibility that he would leave on Tuesday, Fuzile said: “It’s not my focus right now.”
“My objective is that the handover to the new minister is as smooth as possible and I’ll do everything to make sure that happens,” Fuzile said after a briefing in Pretoria.
Who is Lungisa Fuzile
Fuzile joined National Treasury in 1998 as a deputy director. “He quickly rose through the ranks to become the head of the Intergovernmental Relations division,” Treasury explains on its website.
“In this position Fuzile gave strategic leadership to the development and maintenance of the intergovernmental fiscal framework, including the reviewing of the formulae for the transfer of resources to provincial and local governments.
“It was under his leadership that Intergovernmental Relations introduced the Infrastructure Delivery Improvement Programme (IDIP) to solve the capacity and institutional challenges faced by the provincial departments of Health, Education and Public Works in the delivery of infrastructure.
“In July 2008 Fuzile took on the position of Deputy Director-General in the Asset and Liability Management (ALM) division. In that capacity he was responsible for cash management, the financing of the deficit and financial oversight over state-owned entities.
“His primary responsibilities as Director-General of the National Treasury include managing the department, producing a sound and sustainable national budget, managing government’s financial assets and liabilities, overseeing government accounting policies and standards, regulating public sector procurement through policy formulation, developing appropriate fiscal policy and financial management, and improving financial management throughout government.
“His various roles at the National Treasury during the past 13 years have given him a sound understanding of the work of the department.
“Lungisa is a Master of Commerce graduate and was born in 1966. He began his career as a school teacher, later switching to university lecturer before joining Statistics South Africa in January 1997. He is married and has one daughter.”