The DA continues to raise questions about former spy boss Moe Shaik’s appointment to the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), despite Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan insisting proper processes had been followed.
The party’s spokesman on finance, Tim Harris, on Sunday welcomed Gordhan’s “willingness to answer questions” about Shaik’s appointment as CEO of the new international division of the 100 percent state-owned bank. But he said more questions needed to be answered before South Africans would be “convinced” that Shaik had not been “deployed” on political grounds.
“As the shareholder’s [government] representative at the bank, minister Gordhan has a responsibility to ensure that the best person for the job has been appointed,” Harris said.
One of the questions he wanted answered was why the state had picked up the tab for Shaik to undergo an executive leadership training programme at Harvard University, if he had not already been “handpicked” for the DBSA job.
Harris said it was “not obvious” that Shaik had the “business experience and qualifications” for the job.
Shaik left for the US with his family in May to begin an all-expenses paid three-month course – part of a deal he negotiated when leaving the State Security Agency after falling out with his political chief, minister Siyabonga Cwele.
In a statement last week, Gordhan expressed support for the appointment and insisted “proper processes” had been followed. He said Shaik had been rated the best candidate after a series of interviews and psychometric tests.
Shaik, he said, had been appointed because of “strong analytical skills and a deep understanding of national priorities, all of which can be partly attributed to the various positions he had occupied in government since 1994”.
DBSA board chairman, Jabu Moleketi, said there was confidence in Shaik.
The new post required strategic leadership and a demonstrable ability to operate at the highest level.
Dr Iraj Abedian, chief executive of Pan-African Finance and a former DBSA board member, said in the global context managing directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank were generally political appointees, whose technical experience was secondary to their political connections. “What is ironic [though] is when South Africa talks about appointing an MD of the IMF, we look at the merits of the nominee and publish a job description,” he said.
By contrast it appeared there was another standard for the African continent, because for the Africa-based DBSA, a political appointment was made over one based purely on technical expertise.
“[Shaik’s] appointment is common, but contrary to what is being pushed at an international level [by the South African government],” he said.