Treasury DDG goes: Magda tweets to good people

Sygnia ceo Magda Wierzycka. Picture Donwald Pressly

Sygnia chief executive officer Magna Wierzycka has pressed on “all good people” to stay in their posts at state-owned enterprises. Following the announcement that treasury was losing the budget office chief Michael Sachs, Wierzycka tweeted to the world that competent people and non-crooks should dig in their heels

“We need you now more than ever. You are the last barricade against wholesale looting,” said the chief executive, who has been outspoken about state capture of both government operations as well as private companies.

She said: “I would beg all good people at SOEs (state owned enterprises) to stay at their posts.”

Fin24 reported that national treasury had been rocked by the resignation of its long-time budget head Michael Sachs. He was also deputy director-general in the treasury. He apparently quit last week over interference by the Presidency.

Commenting on the development, DA finance spokesman David Maynier said the Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe had tried to reassure MPs that there was “nothing to fear” from the new “budget prioritisation framework”. The auuramce was delivered during his briefing, following the medium-term budget policy statement, on 26 October.

Maynier said: “However, the shock resignation of  Sachs, which is a huge blow to National Treasury, confirms our fears that decision-making on budget priorities, and the budget itself, have now been centralised under President Jacob Zuma.”

South Africa now had, said Maynier:

  • a “Presidential Fiscal Committee” making decisions about the budget at the expense of the Minister’s Committee on the Budget;
    • a “Mandate Paper” setting out budget priorities, in terms of a new budget prioritisation framework, compiled by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, at the expense of National Treasury; and
    • that is not to mention rogue elements, such a Morris Masutha, who are reportedly peddling a R40 billion budget-busting plan for higher education, with the support of President Jacob Zuma.

Mayniere said this meant that in the middle of a “fiscal crisis”, which Sachs himself described as the most challenging since the global financial crisis, decision-making on the budget had been plunged into chaos.

“And it seems that National Treasury are slowly being “defanged” and reduced to “bookkeepers”, with declining influence over budget priorities, and the budget itself, under President Jacob Zuma.”

“That is why I will write to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, requesting him to schedule an urgent hearing on this matter before the end of recess in Parliament. We can only hope that there is no snowball effect and that other senior officials at the apex of the system hold steady do not resign from National Treasury.”

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