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Lungisa Fuzile's departure from Treasury a 'radical blow'

Apr 06 2017 20:50
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Members of Parliament who serve in the finance committee expressed deep regret over the decision of Lungisa Fuzile, director general (DG) at National Treasury’s resignation. 

“It's deeply, deeply regrettable that he's leaving,” said Yunus Carrim (ANC), chairperson of the standing committee on finance. “Whatever his reasons, I was hoping he would stay on, at least for a year or so. He was very astute, technically sound, quite experienced, extremely hardworking. He will be sorely missed, but we wish him well in his new pursuits.” 

READ: Treasury boss Fuzile confirms he has resigned

David Maynier, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of finance who represents his party on the finance committee, said Fuzile was key to the fight against “state capture” by National Treasury.

“He served his country well and his imminent departure is a blow to National Treasury.”

Zuma's hit list

Maynier added that it comes as no surprise, though, as Fuzile has been on President Jacob Zuma’s “hit list” for a long time. 

“But we can only hope that his departure does not open the flood gates, leading to the departure of other senior officials.” 

Maynier said he also hoped that Fuzile would be replaced by an internal candidate with experience, not an external candidate marked with the Guptas’ “stamp of approval”.

A radical blow

Mkhuleko Hlengwa from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and also a member of the standing committee on finance, said Fuzile’s resignation is a radical blow to the financial stability of the country. 

“In the face of the upcoming credit rating we now have a new Financial Minister who’s trying to find his feet and on top of that National Treasury needs to appoint a new DG. The economy is bleeding from all fronts – in terms of credibility, leadership and stability. The DG’s resignation is a severe blow."

Hlengwa lauded Fuzile for being “capable and knowledgeable” with his finger on the pulse. “He’s always had a broad understanding of the key issues and a keen eye for detail.” 

The IFP hopes Fuzile would change his mind in the coming days, Hlengwa said. “We hope he find it in him to reconsider in the national interest and stay on until his contracts end.” 

'Purge at National'

Hlengwa however conceded that the “purge” at National Treasury has long been coming. “It’s understandable that some people want to keep their integrity intact, as they don’t want to be part of a clan derailing this country.”

Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, United Democratic Front spokesperson on finance, said Fuzile was one of the most competent officials in the government and it is a pity that he’s leaving. 

READ: Gigaba brings controversial advisers to Treasury

“Although one doesn’t know the reasons one can assume it has everything to do with the instability in the finance portfolio. I hope for his sake that in whatever new role he takes on he’ll have stability,” Kwankwa said. 

Fuzile, who has been at National Treasury since 1998, starting out as a deputy director will leave his position in mid-May.

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