TOUGH JOB: Malusi Gigaba at a news conference in Pretoria after he was announced as the new finance minister by President Jacob Zuma on Friday. Picture: AP
Johannesburg - New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba may have to perform a miracle or two or work harder than any other minister to gain the confidence of investors, senior colleagues at National Treasury and the public at large.

This was the view of economic experts and political analysts following President Jacob Zuma’s decision to appoint Gigaba to the portfolio.

The man who has been tasked with taking care of the country’s purse is expected to hold top-level discussions with his predecessor Pravin Gordhan, SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane and rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch.

Amid claims he is linked to the Guptas, some say this might give him sleepless nights while he is in office.

Political analyst Dr Mcebisi Ndletyana said only time would tell if Gigaba would be a success in his new role.

“There are a lot of questions about his character and whether he is honourable.

“There have been reports that he has offshore accounts, that he is involved with the Guptas.

“He also attacked Ahmed Kathrada following his letter to Zuma and there is ample reason to suspect that he will agree to many things that Gordhan shunned,” Ndletyana said, adding if Gigaba wants to thrive, he would have to be ethical.

Fellow analyst Professor Lesiba Teffo said given his limited experience within the financial sector, Gigaba may not enjoy the respect shown to Gordhan .

“He’s not the cleanest of ministers. He has been implicated in unsavoury activities.”

Teffo went further to say that at this stage Gigaba had little if any support.

“Not within the party, not with the department and certainly not within the country,” he added.

Sunday marks two days since Gigaba was sworn in by Justice Sisi Khampepe at the presidential guest house on Friday.

On Saturday, the former home affairs and public enterprise minister said while he had been shocked that Zuma appointed him to the post, he was profoundly honoured and humbled.

“We have all been shocked. Unfortunately, I may not know why the decision may have been taken.

“My duty is to focus on the tasks that I have been given,” he said.

On the sacking of Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, Gigaba said often when changes occur they bring instability and uncertainty.

Gigaba highlighted that his top priority would be to ensure that economic transformation was accelerated.

“Many people think when we talk about radical transformation, we talk about Black Economic Empowerment.

“We are also talking about the working people and the poor, black people in general, women and youth.

“Economic transformation is not my own idea. I support it wholeheartedly. I will pursue it with every inch of my energy,” he said.

He added the ruling party remained unapologetic about using the state’s spending power to grow black enterprises and said this would be done within fiscal constraints.

He said the Treasury did not exist for the exclusive use and benefit of those with power and vested interests.

Gigaba also revealed that contrary to reports, he had no other form of income apart from the money he received for his duties.

He dismissed suggestions linking him to the Guptas.

With the markets remaining on shaky ground and the rand having reacted negatively to news of the cabinet reshuffle, chief economist at the SA Institute of Race Relations Ian Cruickshanks said at his meeting with Fitch and Moody’s, it was imperative Gigaba used all his power to give an impression that he has vast knowledge of how the Treasury works.

Econometrix chief economist Azar Jammine said there was not much Gigaba could do to convince the public that he was honourable.

“He’s already come with some contradiction in terms of his stance on radical economic transformation because although he professes (he intends) to keep the Treasury intact, he is also going to change the way in which money is spent by the government.”

Jammine said there was a good chance that the rand would again react to the developments when markets reopen on Monday.

Sunday Independent