No way Malusi Gigaba should present budget - EFF

Fighters say finance minister has a long track record of being a Gupta stooge


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The EFF calls on President Ramaphosa to remove Malusi Gigaba as Finance Minister with immediate effect. This call is based on the fact that Gigaba is a Gupta stooge who was the engine of state capture under Jacob Zuma. It is Malusi Gigaba, as Minister of Home Affairs who ensured that the Guptas attain citizenship in South Africa, aiding them to qualify for BEE deals with State Owned Enterprises. 

Throughout his tenure as Minister of Public Enterprises until 2014 Gigaba was engaged in the restructuring of SOE boards, surrendering them to the Gupta syndicate. On December 2010, Gigaba appointed Department of Trade and Industry official Iqbal Sharma to Transnet Board. On December 2010 a Gupta owned New Age reported that Brian Molefe will become Transnet CEO and on February 2011 Gigaba appointed Brian Molefe as Transnet CEO. Here, Between him and Brian Molefe they signed off on some most controversial Gupta-Transnet linked contracts, including the work directed to Trillian. 

As Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba announced the appointment of Molefe on 16 February. Transnet said 63 applications had been received and nine applicants were interviewed. The board’s corporate governance and nominations committee, chaired by Transnet chairperson Mafika Mkwanazi, apparently handled the process. The Mail & Guardian reported that: “A senior executive with knowledge of Transnet board operations said the applications had to be vetted and interviews for busy executives and board members arranged. ‘Molefe’s appointment was miraculously quick’, the executive said”.

In June 2011 Gigaba announced wholesale changes to some SOE Boards; In Eskom he put the following; Nazia Carrim who is the wife of Muhammed Noor Hussain, family member of Gupta business associate Salim Essa; Romeo Khumalo who is a co-director with Essa in a company; Marriam Cassim who previously worked for Gupta company Sahara.; Ben Ngubane who was in business with Essa; Kuben Moodley who was in business with Pamensky and adviced Gupta-aligned Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebendsi Zwane; Viroshni Naidoo who is Kuben Moodley’s husband.

In Transnet, Gigaba tried to make Sharma Board Chair unsuccessfully. Transnet then created the Board Acquisitions and Disposals Committee to supervise the planned pipeline of future large-scale infrastructure spending a tender worth more than R2.5 billion, then Sharma was appointed to chair this committee. In July 2012, under Gigaba's watch, Anoj Singh became the CFO of Transnet. 

In September 2012, most of the SAA board, led by former chair Cheryl Carolus, resigned, over a breakdown in its relationship with Gigaba when he was Minister for Public Enterprises. Chief Executive Siza Mzimela and some of her key people followed in early October and all this was due to disagreement over a large SAA tender, worth at least R10 billion. Gigaba must fall and must fall yesterday. He is the polluted dark smoke hovering over the supposedly new dawn of Ramaphosa's administration. 

We need not describe how critical a Minister of Finance is to Ramaphosa because he knows that the removal of Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordan was a move to capture the public purse directly by the Gupta family. Without a compliant stooge as Finance Minister, they could not direct the funds of our country to their benefit with projects like the nuclear deal. 

In addition, whatever happens, the EFF opposes a budget regime that always raises Value Added Tax and targets personal incomes of lower paid workers, to the exclusion of Corporate Income tax, as a means to raise revenue. We call on our budget coordinated to depend on raising Corporate Income Tax as a means to raise revenue. With the state of affairs in our country, high unemployment and inequality, too many people depend on incomes of individuals to survive. To raise Value Added and Income Tax is to take more from individuals who already have loads of burdens to take care of. The rich must be taxed to support the poor, and the rich in this case are the big companies that make huge profits and pay workers peanuts. 

The EFF rejects Malusi Gigaba and will boycott the Budget Vote if it is him who will be presenting it. To avoid disruptions, we will stay away from the house for the entire country to see that Ramaphosa is sustaining the legacy of disreputable ministers like Gigaba, awarding them with the privilege of presenting the country's budget which they have ensured it benefits corrupt interests of the Gupta syndicate. 

If this is truly a new dawn, why must a disreputable, corrupt and unpatriotic Gigaba present the budget?

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 20 February 2018