No policy shift at National Treasury, says Fuzile

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Treasury director general Lungisa Fuzile. (Photo: Gallo)
Treasury director general Lungisa Fuzile. (Photo: Gallo)

Cape Town – The direction and policies of National Treasury haven’t changed since the appointment of new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, said outgoing director general Lungisa Fuzile in Parliament on Tuesday.

Fuzile, who leaves his position at the middle of May this year, was presenting National Treasury’s annual performance and strategic plans to the standing committee on finance.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Floyd Shivambu asked Fuzile during question time whether there have been any policy shifts since Gigaba’s appointment.

Fuzile said in his response that it “takes a long time for a government system to change”.

“And you can check the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) – there are things that are expected of National Treasury. You can’t expect the functions of National Treasury to change,” he said.

Fuzile pointed out though that the approach to the work changes with the appointment of different ministers. “They’re not in a straight jacket. So there will be things in terms of fiscal stance that will reflect there has been a change of ministers.

“Remember, we’ve had five finance ministers in six years – you’ve got to adapt to the style of your new minister, which is by the way not that difficult,” Fuzile said.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told MPs earlier at the same briefing there’s one finance minister and he doesn’t speak with a forked tongue.

“I’ve been consistent and there are policies that underpin what we need to do at National Treasury. At the heart of it is the National Development Plan.”

David Maynier from the Democratic Alliance asked Gigaba to clarify the comments his adviser Chris Malikane had made with regard to the nationalisation of banks and mines, and taking up arms in defence of radical economic transformation.

READ: MPs grill Gigaba on radical economic transformation

Gigaba said advisers don't impose their views on Treasury's principles.

“National Treasury has a number of economists. There's not a single person who gets to have dominant opinions. I'm not worried about a single individual who can dominate in National Treasury.                       

“There is no view to nationalise banks, take up arms, or nationalise the mines. Nobody should worry about that.”

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