Coun­try first, min­is­ter

CityPress - - Voices -

Dear Min­is­ter Gi­gaba,

To­day marks 10 days since you were an­nounced as the new fi­nance min­ster. We wish you all the best, but here is some pad­kos for you as you em­bark on this im­por­tant jour­ney of han­dling the coun­try’s public purse.

Please do not an­nounce a nu­clear pro­cure­ment pro­gramme be­cause, if the es­ti­mates are true, we cer­tainly can’t af­ford it.

Please do not de­cide that Trea­sury sud­denly sup­ports Denel’s joint ven­ture with VR Laser Asia – we will know you are in bed with the Gup­tas.

Please do not come out say­ing that, ac­tu­ally, en­e­mies of the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Cen­tre Amend­ment Bill have a point. Do you want to pro­tect the po­lit­i­cal elite in­volved in crime and money laun­der­ing?

Please do not spurn and dis­band the ini­tia­tives built up with busi­ness lead­ers and unions by your pre­de­ces­sor.

Please do not un­con­di­tion­ally bail the SABC out of the hole that was dug by Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng. That goes double for SAA. Above all else, don’t touch any­thing re­lated to the Gup­tas with a 10-foot pole.

Pol­icy con­ti­nu­ity has a far more con­crete mean­ing than af­firm­ing ex­pen­di­ture ceil­ings and debt-to-GDP lev­els. We know where Trea­sury stood on things be­fore you got there.

You are now the most scru­ti­nised per­son in the coun­try. You are not al­lowed to joke, equiv­o­cate or do any­thing in the shad­ows.

It is not the rat­ings agen­cies’ dis­ap­proval you need to worry about as they have only touched on what ev­ery­body al­ready knows, that this is about the future of South Africa.

This week’s down­grades are the least of our wor­ries. The down­grades that will al­most cer­tainly re­sult if you do any of the above will, how­ever, sad­dle our chil­dren with an un­payable debt.

Crit­ics of the rat­ings agen­cies are not crazy – they do some­times get things hor­ri­bly wrong.

But it wasn’t them who sent the rand sink­ing and the cost of our na­tional debt spik­ing these past two weeks. That was you and your col­leagues.

The credit rat­ings agen­cies are not ac­count­able to us, but you are. So please en­sure that what­ever you do does not sink the coun­try fur­ther into debt.

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