Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba intends to appoint a new National Treasury director-general by the end of May, following the announcement of Lungisa Fuzile’s imminent departure from a post he has occupied for the past six years.
Both ratings agencies and investors have been unsettled by Fuzile’s decision, which followed the controversial removal of Pravin Gordhan as South Africa’s Finance Minister – in an announcement by President Jacob Zuma in the early hours of March 30.
In a recent meeting with government’s social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council the hope was expressed that the transition to a new director-general would “further contribute to the stability of the Treasury”. Business had previously expressed the fear that the departure of Gordhan, Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas and Fuzile could spark an exodus of top talent from the National Treasury.
Gigaba promised on Wednesday that Fuzile’s replacement will not only be “competent”, but will also follow in the “proud tradition” of previous directors-general, such as Maria Ramos, Lesetja Kganyago and Fuzile. Ramos is currently Barclay Africa CEO, while Kganyago is governor of the South African Reserve Bank.
By the end of May, Gigaba intended being in a position to present his candidate to Cabinet for endorsement.
“The question that I have been asked is whether I intend to appoint somebody from within the Treasury. Now, if I said that, I would be putting myself immediately at odds with the Public Service Commission regulations, because I would be saying to the country that I already have a candidate in mind.”
Instead, Gigaba planned to consider both internal and external candidates, quipping that he would consider bank CEOs or other senior executives should they be “willing to forego their big salaries and be willing to come and work for the Treasury”.
He also stressed that he would be encouraging applications from “as many internal candidates as possible”.
An advertisement for the position, issued on April 14, outlined a fixed-term five-year contract with a remuneration package starting at R1.6-million up to R1.9-million a year‚ all inclusive. The closing date for applications was set as April 28, 2017.