DA wants Mboweni to announce Moyane's axing in 'six pack' mini budget

2018-10-22 18:01 - Lameez Omarjee, Fin24

New Finance Minister Tito Mboweni must make an announcement on suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane's future at the revenue service, DA MP David Maynier has said.

Maynier on Monday published the main opposition party's expectations for the mini budget. Restoring public trust in SARS is just one of the six challenges Maynier wants Mboweni to address in his mini budget on Wednesday, October 24.

Maynier explained that public trust in SA's financial institutions had been "shattered" by State Capture. He cited Judge Robert Nugent's interim report on the SARS inquiry, released by the Presidency last week, which recommends that President Cyril Ramaphosa remove Moyane with immediate effect.

Maynier called for Mboweni to make a decision in line with Nugent's recommendation.

"We believe the minister should restore public trust by announcing that the commissioner of the South African Revenue Service, Tom Moyane, will be removed and a new appointment will be made without delay," he said.

The DA also wants Mboweni to provide clarity on his position on radical economic transformation and his views on the state ownership of the mining sector, state-owned banks and the creation of a sovereign wealth fund.

"The minister has a reputation of having fairly orthodox views on the economy, but during his political exile he often took to social media posting controversial content, which included a flirtation with Radical Economic Transformation," Maynier said, referencing a tweet in which Mboweni expressed views on radical economic transformation.

The minister should also put forward a "credible plan" to boost economic growth to at least 3%, through structural reforms that would increase private sector investment, said Maynier. The DA expects Treasury to revise economic growth down to 0.7% for 2018 – which the party believes is insufficient to "sustain" public finances and provide employment.

Maynier warned that lower-than-expected economic growth and lower revenue collections, among other things, would lead to fiscal slippage.

He called for government to "hold the fiscal line" by introducing a credible plan to stabilise debt to below 50% of GDP and to announce a comprehensive spending review which would involve headcount and wage freezes in the civil service.

Maynier also wants to see reforms in state-owned enterprises (SOE), which have been relying on bailouts from the fiscus. His proposals to Mboweni include that SAA should be placed in business rescue, and that the airline, or parts of it, ultimately be privatised. 

Another SOE which requires intervention is power utility Eskom, which Maynier called a "debt mountain" that poses a major fiscal risk with the potential to "blow up" SA's balance sheet.

Specifically, Maynier wants Mboweni to disclose the terms and conditions of the R33.4bn loan to Eskom from the Chinese Development Bank. He also put forward reforms for the utility which include its privatisation.

"We believe that if the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, deals decisively with the 'six pack' of challenges during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, he will give hope to ordinary people who are battling to make ends meet, and who are experiencing an income squeeze, and to the 9.6 million people who do not have jobs, or who have given up looking for jobs in South Africa," Maynier said.  

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