Deputy finance minister David Masondo. Picture: ELIJAR MUSHIANA/ SOWETAN
Deputy finance minister David Masondo. Picture: ELIJAR MUSHIANA/ SOWETAN

Deputy finance minister David Masondo's future in the government, following a recommendation by the ANC's integrity commission that he step aside after allegedly abusing state machinery in a scandal involving his personal life, now lie with the party’s top six officials, before facing further internal processes.

Masondo is seen as being groomed for the position of finance minister, and has been tasked with championing the Treasury’s pro-growth reforms aimed at turning around the country’s devastated economy.

The ANC’s national executive committee, its second highest decision-making body met at the weekend when the letter from the party’s integrity commission leaked. The body recommended that Masondo step aside from government and as head of the ANC's political school.

The NEC did not deal with the unexpected letter.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said on Tuesday that the party was aware of the integrity commission’s finding, but that it still had to be processed.

He said Masondo filed an appeal on the matter.

“He continues in his responsibility as deputy minister and as a member of the NEC.”

The unexpectedness of the decision was compounded by the fact that Masondo had himself approached the commission almost a year ago to look into allegations that he tried to use elite crime-fighting unit the Hawks to silence a former lover.

The commission said he showed poor judgment by laying a charge of extortion with the Hawks against his former partner. She reportedly accused him of bullying her into having an abortion.

According to a letter written by Masondo in response to the integrity commission’s decision, he said he was informed by the commission chair, George Mashamba, in about November 2019 that the body had discussed the matter and agreed that there was nothing wrong in him reporting a crime.

Enoch Godongwana, head of the party’s economic transformation committee, which deals with the ANC’s approach and policies on the economy, said comments on the integrity commission’s recommendation on Masondo were made in passing, but that it was not on the NEC’s agenda and was not officially discussed.

He commented on the matter given Masondo’s position in the finance ministry.  

He said the matter will now be dealt with by the ANC’s top six officials, and follow the normal process in which it is then referred to the national working committee, after which it will make its way back to the NEC.

Intellidex analyst Peter Attard Montalto said on Wednesday that the Masondo situation was “bizarre” as the ANC’s integrity commission had been unable to deal with people “actually at the trough in the party”.

He said the issue for the markets during this time would be that there was no decent succession plan for the ministry of finance, which is led by Tito Mboweni, and that there was a scarcity of candidates who would be suitable for the position.

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