The man at the helms of South Africa’s financial echelon is on a hot barrage of daunting questions. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday said radical economic transformation should be neither feared nor suppressed, as South Africa has a legacy of left-behind people.
“Whatever the name you call it – accelerated growth, radical economic transformation or inclusive growth, we want to address the plight of these people.”
Gigaba faced a barrage of questions in his maiden appearance at Parliament’s standing committee on finance.
Gigaba, along with Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi, director general Lungisa Fuzile and other officials from the department, was briefing Members of Parliament on National Treasury’s strategic and annual performance plans for the 2017/18 financial years.
David Maynier, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of finance, asked Gigaba if he agrees with President Jacob Zuma’s idea of radical economic transformation as pronounced in the State of the Nation Address 2017.
He also asked the finance minister to clarify his stance on the nationalisation of banks and mines as his adviser, Chris Malikane, has expressed his views on nationalisation and taking up arms to achieve radical economic transformation on a number of platforms.
“Do you distance yourself from his mad ideas?” Maynier asked Gigaba.
Floyd Shivambu from the Economic Freedom Fighters said his party does not have an issue with the views expressed by Malikane. “In fact, his ideas are contained in the EFF’s pillars for radical economic change.”
ANC MP Yunus Carrim asked Gigaba to explain how inclusive growth and radical economic transformation tie in with each other.
He also asked Gigaba to give urgent attention to outstanding issues on which the finance committee has held public hearings, such as transformation in the financial sector, the issue of rotation of auditors and the vacancies at South African Airways.
Carrim said the process of appointing a chief executive officer and a chief financial officer at SAA has been long overdue, and the national carrier needs to make haste with these appointments in the next two to three months.