Finance

ANC cadre deployment would kill Treasury – Godongwana

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said that if cadre deployment were imposed on the National Treasury, it would “kill” the institution.

Godongwana spoke at News24’s On The Record Summit last week, where he outlined a lack of skills as the government’s major problem. 

The minister said he received a phone call from the IMF’s senior official in the country upon his appointment. 

“Let me tell you my experience in South Africa,” the official said. “You guys have got grand plans. There is no doubt about that. Your challenge is your ability to translate those plans into action.”

Godongwana admitted that the inability to implement policy is a major weakness of the government, caused by the lack of skills in national and local governments. 

Similarly, a banker from JP Morgan told a visiting South African delegation to the United States that the country has all of these plans, but it is difficult for the government to translate them into projects that can be financed. 

“That, in my view, is a skills issue,” said Godongwana. 

The lack of skills in the government has been created, in part, by the government itself through its cadre deployment policy. 

“You can’t put a weapon in the hands of somebody who is not well-trained. What has happened with cadre deployment has been to place a weapon in the hands of somebody who is not well-trained,” Godongwana said. 

This is self-defeating in some cases. “When this untrained person has got the weapon, he can even shoot you – the person who gave him the weapon. That has been the fundamental weakness of cadre deployment.”

When asked if he has been able to convince some of his fellow ANC members about the dangers of cadre deployment, Godongwana replied, “I’ve got the Zondo report on my side.”

The Finance Minister is specifically concerned about the potential impact of cadre deployment on the National Treasury. 

Godongwana explained that all treasuries around the world have two things in common – technical competency and fiscal conservatism. 

“Those that lack these characteristics tend to go to the IMF regularly and ask for bailouts.”

“So, if you come to the Treasury with cadre deployment, you would kill the institution. Stone dead,” Godongwana said. 

The National Treasury needs high levels of competency and professionalism while being free to diverge from the ruling party’s ideology. 

Godongwana said the role of the Finance Minister is to mediate this tension between the ruling party and the Treasury.

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