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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

Scramble for Finance Ministry: Independent candidate should lead SA’s Treasury – IRR

Political parties want the Finance position in the Goverment of National Unity (GNU), but the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has a better idea.

Multiple political parties have their eye on the National Treasury as negations for a Government of National Unity (GNU) continue. However, the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) says an independent candidate should be chosen for the finance minister position.

Scramble over finance position

The minister of finance position is on the list of demands by parties including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – which has declared Floyd Shivambu as being the most competent person to take over this role.

Julius Malema declared Shivambu as the best person for this role at a press briefing at the IEC’s Results Operations Centre (ROC) last week.

The ANC had some candidates in mind for the Finance Minister position, but having lost their majority in parliament, they would now have to give away some key positions such as the Ministry of Finance.

The Finance Minister position will be a well sought after position as negotiatiions continue for a GNU.

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But IRR head of strategic communication, Hermann Pretorius said an independent candidate in a strategic role such as Finance would be able to act in a responsible manner devoid of political interference and agendas.

“As economic growth is the fundamental challenge facing South Africa, it is encouraging that there might now be a route to reversing the damaging fiscal recklessness pushed by political interests from 2008 onwards,” Pretorius said.

According to the IRR’s estimates, South Africa’s public debt has tripled in size since 2008.

“In fact, South Africa’s fiscal multiplier has over time turned negative, meaning wasteful and irresponsible government spending has incurred economic damage,” Pretorius said.

Constitutionally, two members of the cabinet can be appointed from outside the National Assembly.

“A finance minister appointed in this way would depoliticize this critical governmental role, going some way to ensuring that no government, whether minority or coalition, could utilise the extensive powers of the Treasury for nefarious gain,” Pretorius said.

Pretorius said the appointment of an independent candidate would be an important first step towards attracting skills to government roles and placing merit and ability above political loyalty in governmental roles.

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“Beyond finance, however, the other cabinet portfolio that stands as a strong contender for the appointment of an independent expert to lead is that of mineral resources and energy. Economically, mining remains a critical sector,” he said.