Pretoria - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday led a protest at the National Treasury in the Pretoria CBD, calling on Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba to step down from his new post.
Maimane said President Jacob Zuma had deployed Gigaba to the critical State institution in a bid to weaken it, paving the way for looting from the State coffers.
"I am not here to fight with the department. I love the officials at Treasury. I just worry that there are others who want to put their fingers in the till of Treasury, the ATM of South Africa. I don't want those people, they have stolen enough already. Others say billions [of rands] are leaving this country to Dubai. Enough is enough," Maimane said as he handed over a memorandum to National Treasury's Lwazi Giba.
"We need change. So I am here to call on Minister Gigaba to resign. He can respond to me directly, my details are here [on the memorandum]."
Addressing journalists at the protest, Maimane said President Jacob Zuma had deployed Gigaba to the National Treasury with the sole purpose of looting and advancing the interests of the controversial Gupta family.
"Minister Gigupta [Gigaba] was deployed here for the sole purpose of capturing Treasury. It is clear that he was simply sent here by the Guptas. Our challenge is that we should make sure that the R1, 4 trillion budget that gets tabled in Parliament, is for poor South Africans. We can't, in a country facing a recession, continue to afford having ministers whose primary interest is no longer South Africa. We want to end that," said Maimane.
"All those emails [leaked private emails of Gupta associates], confirm this issue. When you look at the history of Gigaba, what happened to the state-owned enterprises that he was deployed to? He was the one who appointed people like [Matshela ] Koko at Eskom. Now he would want to look back and say he didn't know about these things. He was a key instrument ... that's why the Guptas wanted a finance minister like him."
Maimane said the emphasis of the protest was to ensure that Gigaba quit.
"Gigaba must go, along with the whole of the ANC, because in truth, we want a South Africa that is free from corrupt crooks. We must ensure that our resources are used for the people. Times are tough for our people, they are getting harder. Whilst we are in a recession, if we have a leadership that is deployed from Saxonwold, we will end up with a situation worse than what we have now."
Earlier, Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga said attracting investment into South Africa’s capital Pretoria had proven difficult under the current spell of policy uncertainty.
“We are trying by all means to attract investors into Tshwane but we are finding it very difficult with so much uncertainty in terms of the positions that we are taking going forward. Investors like certainty and at the moment South Africa is not giving any kind of certainty," said Msimanga.
“I’m trying to make sure that the people of Tshwane get jobs. I’m trying to make sure that we are able to attract investment into the capital city. Therefore, until such a time when we have a good stance and solid policy positions, we will never be able to attract investment into the capital.”
Msimanga said the discourse gripping the governing ANC on whether South Africa was under the spell of “white monopoly capital” or just “monopoly capital” was a sideshow.
“Make up your minds, we need to move South Africa forward. You are not doing us any favour, you are actually doing us a disservice with all this dilly dallying you are doing,” he said.
Several security guards were manning the closed entrance of the National Treasury on Church Square. Numerous police officers were also on the scene.