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Gigaba: I don't speak with a forked tongue

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Gigaba: I don't speak with a forked tongue

Photo by Reuters

9th May 2017

By: News24Wire

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There’s one finance minister and he doesn’t speak with a forked tongue, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told Members of Parliament on Tuesday.

“I’ve been consistent and there are policies that underpin what we need to do at National Treasury. At the heart of it is the National Development Plan.”

Gigaba and officials from National Treasury appeared before Parliament’s standing committee on finance about its 2017/18 strategic and annual performance plans, where they were asked to give clarity on a number of issues.

David Maynier from the Democratic Alliance (DA) asked Gigaba to clarify the comments his adviser Chris Malikane had made with regard to the nationalisation of banks and mines, and taking up arms in defence of radical economic transformation.

READ: MPs grill Gigaba on radical economic transformation

Gigaba said advisers don't impose their views on Treasury's principles.

“National Treasury has a number of economists. There's not a single person who gets to have dominant opinions. I'm not worried about a single individual who can dominate in National Treasury.

“There is no view to nationalise banks, take up arms, or nationalise the mines. Nobody should worry about that.”

On South Africa’s sovereign credit rating downgrade by S&P Global Ratings, Gigaba said it had been a fait accompli even before President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Responding to a question from Maynier about the fallout from the reshuffle, Gigaba said when he walked into the office on Friday (hours after his appointment as finance minister), S&P had already taken the decision to downgrade South Africa to junk status.

“In my own opinion, we need to be fair. We've been in a slow growth environment for a number of years and the depreciation of the foreign exchange has been caused by a number of factors.

“There are various reasons why these things happen. Let's not seek scapegoats. The first downgrade happened before the reshuffle happened. When we arrived on the Friday, the decision had been taken,” Gigaba said.

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