Johannesburg - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday defended the Development Bank of SA's (DBSA) decision to appoint Mo Shaik as head of its international subsidiary.
“I believe the DBSA has followed proper processes in making this appointment, which I support,” he said in a statement released by his office.
Gordhan was responding to the Democratic Alliance's announcement that it would ask him to explain the process followed by the bank in appointing Shaik.
The post was advertised within the DBSA and an executive headhunting agency was appointed. Nine candidates were identified, and four of these were shortlisted.
They completed psychometric assessments and were interviewed by a subcommittee of the DBSA's board of directors.
“In fairness to the four shortlisted candidates, I am not going to disclose their names,” Gordhan said.
They had participated in the process on the understanding that their candidature would be treated in the strictest of confidence, he said.
Following the interviews, two candidates were eliminated and Shaik was identified as the best person for the job.
“In its recommendation, the board found Mr Shaik to have a strong networks and relationships within the SA development community,” he said.
These were seen as key to the success of the DBSA's subsidiary, the Development Bank International.
“Mr Shaik also displayed strong analytical skills and a deep understanding of national priorities, all of which can be partly attributed to the various positions that he has occupied in government since 1994,” said Gordhan.
“Mr Shaik's lack of experience in running a commercial enterprise is made up for by his recent training at the Harvard Business School.”
The Development Bank International had a vital role to play in enhancing the development of infrastructure projects in southern Africa, which would in turn promote regional integration, he said.
The DBSA announced Shaik's appointment on Wednesday.
Shaik had the appropriate skills and background for the position, which would involve working with development finance institutions of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, DBSA chairman Jabu Moleketi said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Shaik's experience in the field of international relations and diplomatic intelligence will be an added boost for this new subsidiary,” he said.
“We have no doubt that his prudent expertise will facilitate South Africa's investments in the rest of Africa.”
Shaik holds degrees in computer science and a masters degree in optometry. He has also completed an advanced management programme at the Harvard Business School in the United States.
He served as chief executive of CorpAfrica, South African consul general in Germany, and as South African ambassador to Algeria.
He was a special adviser to former foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of policy research for the same department, and head of secret services at the state security ministry. - Sapa