Knowledge Malusi Nkanyezi Gigaba is the South African Minister of Finance since 31 March 2017. He previously served as Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Public Enterprises.
Gigaba’s name was mentioned 43 times in a new, controversial report which highlights state capture in South Africa.
“Betraying The Promise: How South Africa Is Being Stolen” tracked the appointments and decisions Gigaba took during his tenure as public enterprises and finance minister, alleging he was one of President Jacob Zuma’s key players in restructuring the boards of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which “became broadly representative of ‘Gupta-Zuma’ interests”.
This is contained in the 63-page report compiled by nine academics and researchers affiliated to the universities of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand.
The report alleges the appointment of Gigaba in November 2010 as public enterprises minister marked the start of a “systematic process of reconfiguring” the boards of SOEs to ensure compliance, starting with his attempt to get a little known Trade and Industry Department official and known Gupta associate, Iqbal Sharma, appointed as Transnet board chairperson in 2011 and the successful appointment of Brian Molefe as Transnet CEO in the same year.
This however, was only the first step in the repurposing of the SOEs, says the report.
The second was to allegedly exploit the loophole in the Public Finance Management Act that made it possible to use the procurement procedures of SOEs to benefit selected contractors who had been “sanctioned by the Gupta network”.
Sharma was appointed to Transnet’s board in December 2010. In 2011, Gigaba apparently wanted him appointed as board chairperson, but the Cabinet was harshly against this.
“This signaled that by 2011, Zuma had not yet secured a fully compliant Cabinet. Seemingly to circumvent Cabinet’s veto, Transnet would later create a new structure, formally called the Board Acquisitions and Disposals Committee, to supervise the planned pipeline of future large-scale infrastructure,” the report said.
Molefe later proclaimed bold plans to procure new trains for the transport of coal and iron-ore to Richard’s Bay — the project was worth R51 billion. Sharma was to oversee the process, but he allegedly approached one of the bidders, VR Laser, on behalf of Gupta associate, Salim Essa, and offered to buy the company. Over the years, the Guptas were said to have pocketed millions from the deal.
The report shows how the Guptas pocketed millions from deals with parastatals like Eskom, Transnet and Denel.
It also mentions Gigaba’s appointment as finance minister this year as the “takeover” of National Treasury.