Gigaba on his future: See you, again. Somewhere

Treasury is set to present its 2018 budget to parliament on February 21, but the other focal point of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address was finance minister and Candy Crush aficionado Malusi Gigaba.

“I serve at the pleasure of the president. On the 21st there will be a budget speech delivered by the minister of finance.

All I can say is: ‘See you. Again. Somewhere.’”

Gigaba’s tongue-in-cheek response to eNCA reporter Lester Kiewit was a lighthearted response to speculation about his future in Ramaphosa’s cabinet. It also quoted former president Jacob Zuma’s final address to the nation as head of state.

Some economists and political analysts questioned Gigaba’s credentials when he was named finance minister in March 2017, replacing Pravin Gordhan, who had built a strong public perception of fiscal prudence. His appointment by former president Jacob Zuma ignited speculation that he was placed there as an ‘inside man’ for Zuma to capture the treasury.

It was during Gigaba’s tenure as Minister of Public Enterprises that allegations of state capture at state-owned enterprises began to emerge.

On Thursday, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) walked out of Ramaphosa’s nomination in parliament, later explaining to journalists that it was in part in protest at Gigaba delivering the budget speech.

EFF CIC Julius Malema took a verbal swing at “that crook Malusi Gigaba who illegally granted the Gupta family citizenship” and who “must not be allowed to deliver the budget.”“Zuma will go jail, we want to see him suffer. It is not over. We want to fetch him from the village to Kgosi Mampuru [prison]. I told him when he expelled us that ‘you are fighting with the wrong people because we have age on our side..’”

“In SONA he [Ramaphosa] must announce the removal of minister of finance [Gigaba]. This man can not be trusted and he must not deliver the budget speech this week,” he said.

Questions now abound about whether Ramaphosa will reshuffle the cabinet before the budget speech and replace Gigaba.

In October 2017, Gigaba announced dire budget forecasts, including weak growth expectations, revenue shortfall and rising government debt. A month later S&P Global Ratings downgraded South Africa to “junk”, citing the deterioration of South Africa’s economic outlook and public finances. Fitch, which also rates the country’s debt as “junk”, affirmed S&P’s rating in November. Moody‘s, which has rated South African debt on its lowest investment grade rung, placed the country on review for a downgrade. 

Moody’s is expected to make a decision on the country’s economic rating after the budget.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Kiri Rupiah
Kiri Rupiah is the online editor at the Mail & Guardian.

‘Tenderpreneurs’ block the delivery of protective equipment to schools

Protests by local suppliers have delayed PPE delivery, which according to the DBE, is one of the reasons the reopening of schools has been pushed back until June 8

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday