EFF Leader Julius Malema. Picture: THE TIMES
EFF Leader Julius Malema. Picture: THE TIMES

With just more than a week to go before Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba is to present his medium-term budget policy statement, the EFF has said he cannot be trusted with public funds.

Gigaba was appointed finance minister following President Jacob Zuma’s midnight cabinet reshuffle in March, in which former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, were axed.

This led to ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgrading SA’s foreign currency rating to junk status.

In a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday — which coincided with yet another cabinet reshuffle — EFF leader Julius Malema said Gigaba was running a parallel administration within National Treasury in order to bypass the tougher demands of process and strict adherence to the Public Finance Management Act.

"In essence, our National Treasury is a crisis-ridden department forced into the direction of accepting corrupt-driven projects like nuclear procurement," Malema said.

He said SA’s centre was no longer holding and adult South Africans should "disabuse themselves from the illusion that those at the helm of government rule in the collective interest of our country".

He said this was nowhere more clear than in the "unrelenting" pursuit to capture Treasury.

He said Treasury had used the act to withdraw R5.2bn from the National Revenue Fund to bail out South African Airways, but this had not resulted in stability.

He also referred to the possibility of Treasury using the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages among, other things, government pension funds, to bail out state-owned enterprises. He urged public sector unions to monitor what was being done with their pensions and how they were being used.

"Gigaba is personally responsible for the collapse of state-owned entities. He is the architect of state capture and therefore cannot be trusted with public funds. When he gives guarantees that [the] PIC is safe, it is like asking us to trust a rat that says ‘Your cheese is safe with me’," Malema said.

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