Pretoria – Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says he has no business interests to be declared that might conflict with his new portfolio.
Gigaba was speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, where he shared on the plans for Treasury and its stakeholders going forward. He was sworn in as finance minister at the Union Buildings last night.
He indicated that he would continue to drive radical economic transformation and inclusive growth, as determined by ANC policy.
Responding to a question about his income, Gigaba said: “I have been a politician all my life. I have no business interests. I am not involved in any business and I do not earn income from anyone. The only income in my bank account is income I earn out of working in government.”
He added that he bought a house last year which he is renting out, and that he has declared that income.
Gigaba met with Treasury’s executive committee on Friday afternoon and also had discussions with his predecessor, Pravin Gordhan. They are expected to meet on Monday for a handover of reports.
“I met with the department’s exco yesterday and assured them of my support, to work with them to continue implementing government’s policies.”
Speaking on his move and the capabilities he has for the new position, Gigaba referred to the first time when he was appointed Minister of Public Enterprise in 2010. “There were many questions asked about who I was, and if I was capable of the task before me.”
“As politicians, we will not hold specific expertise relevant for portfolios we occupy. But when Minister [Trevor] Manuel came into the portfolio, he did not have experience or expertise required,” he added.
Gigaba said that most of his predecessors, with the exception of Nhlanhla Nene had the required expertise, but that they had distinguished themselves by their leadership. “I will work with the executive and staff to focus on urgent business of the mandate. I seek not to be distracted to issues unrelated to the mandate I have been given.”
He added: “I understand significance and weight of the portfolio.”
Gigaba will also meet with Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago and he has had a telephonic conversation with South African Revenue Services (SARS) Commissioner, Tom Moyane. He will meet with Moyane on Monday with the aim of improving the relationship between the department and SARS.
“SARS is an agency of the department, we have a responsibility to smooth out relations between selves and personal levels.”
He also had a teleconference with ratings agencies, Moody’s and Fitch and a discussion with Standard & Poor’s is scheduled next week.
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Following the swearing in ceremony he told journalists that he would not change administrative leadership at Treasury. “National Treasury is an important position and I will not act in this position, in any manner that will jeopardise both the integrity of the department as well as the interests of the South African nation,” he said.
Director general Lungisa Fuzile, who was also at the briefing also spoke at the briefing, said that the change should be given a chance. “We have no reason not to like Minister Gigaba before we know him.”
He added that Treasury was staffed by a team of professionals, who pride themselves on professionalism. “We are working with Treasury, less because we are committed to the individual leading Treasury.”
Fuzile pointed out that the laws governing their work had not changed and that would not impact their professionalism. "Most people in jobs have qualifications to enable them to do their jobs, they are committed to a cause to transform the country."