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Forget all the noise outside, South Africa’s new finance minister Malusi Gigaba has told staff at the National Treasury. That’s not likely, though. From his first comments, it is apparent that Gigaba has been installed to carry out the instructions of the Gupta family and others in President Jacob Zuma’s patronage circle. He has immediately set the wheels in motion to get the R1 trillion nuclear power build programme back on track. It has also emerged that he has been hobnobbing with the Gupta family – at the centre of state capture allegations – at their home. Gigaba revealed that he spent time with the Gupta family during the Diwali festival, shrugging off any concerns that this might suggest he has a relationship with them. Fin24 has been piecing together the links between Gigaba and the Gupta brothers. He has allegedly brought in advisors with connections to the Gupta family. Gigaba’s appointment as finance minister appears to be nothing more than a brazen move by Zuma to create space to get snouts deeper into the state feeding trough. International credit ratings agencies know this, which is why they have demoted South Africa to junk status. Thankfully, the realisation is dawning across the ANC and SACP, too, that the Gupta family has effectively taken control of South Africa, with the voices of dissent growing louder. It is bizarre, really, that the once-mighty ANC has allowed a small clique, including an immigrant family, to get their hands on taxpayers’ funds as well as the levers of power. Without a change in political control soon, the majority of South Africans have no hope of a better life. – Jackie Cameron
The former Home Affairs minister’s statement comes as Save SA continues its “occupation of Treasury” outside his headquarters in Pretoria on Church Square and following rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign bonds to non-investment grade, or junk status.“Forget all the noise outside. Do your jobs. What you see and hear will pass. Change brings with it such anxieties,” Treasury quoted him as saying on Twitter on Tuesday.
His speech occurred in front of staff, who were gathered in the old Reserve Bank building in Pretoria to hear their new leader’s vision for Treasury. Staff sat cross-armed and silent, a stark comparison to their singing of “Senzenina”(What have we done) and the national anthem in the very same room on Friday, as former Finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, were about to address them.
Treasury staff have been waiting
Ever since Nhlanhla Nene was fired as their minister in 2015, civil servants at Treasury knew their strong ideals and ethics would once again be challenged with a leader that may bring a different set of ideals. The rise of the narrative of “radical economic transformation”, the proposed nuclear deal and the perception of Treasury being a “Dr No” adds to this uncertainty.
By Lameez Omarjee
Pretoria – New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says he has met the Gupta family, but that they have no influence on the decisions he takes.
Gigaba was speaking at a press briefing following Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) decision to downgrade South Africa’s credit rating to junk status.
It was revealed on Fin24 that Gigaba’s new advisers at Treasury have controversial backgrounds, with one having alleged links to the Guptas.
Responding to a question by Fin24 on his relationship with the Gupta family, Gigaba said that he has no relationship with them.
“As I meet many other business people, it does not mean I have a relationship with them,” he said. “Meeting someone does not mean they have an impact on your decisions. Ultimately I take my own decisions.”
He said that he has visited the family, and celebrated Diwali with them, as he has celebrated other religious events hosted by other people at their homes.
“But these things do not impact on my ability to take decisions,” he reiterated.
In court papers this year, the Oppenheimers accused Gigaba of being influenced by the Guptas over their luxury international airport terminal in Johannesburg, Fireblade. It’s an allegation Gigaba denied in court.
The South African Communist Party believes Gigaba was selected solely to do the Gupta family’s bidding at the Treasury.
“The Guptas have almost, now with the removal of [Finance Minister] Pravin Gordhan, ensured that they have unfettered access to the resources at Treasury,” SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said on Friday.
The Guptas have close ties to President Jacob Zuma. They have been accused of having undue influence over his appointment of ministers and the running of state-owned enterprises.
Save SA also said Zuma’s reshuffle was a Gupta coup, especially as it resulted in the removal of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.