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EFF rejects Duncan Pieterse’s appointment, says he is likely to continue a harmful direction, risking a total collapse of the economy

EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Thambo.Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Thambo.Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 11, 2023


THE EFF says it rejects the newly appointed director-general of the National Treasury, Duncan Pieterse.

The party said his appointment did not surprise them as it would not change what they called the misguided neo-liberal policy direction of the National Treasury that had damaged South Africa’s economy.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana this week welcomed the Cabinet’s approval of the appointment of Pieterse as the new director-general of the National Treasury for a period of five years.

Pieterse is currently the deputy director-general of Asset and Liability Management.

EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said: “This is simply a continuance of the white capitalist establishment’s undermining of transformative and progressive legislation and policies through people like Pieterse. His appointment supports the agenda to collapse state capacity through privatisation of strategic assets and state-owned companies.”

Thambo said: “Notably, Pieterse has co-authored several papers with World Bank and IMF employees. While these papers might appear as efforts to bolster his credibility and prepare him for this role, they do not present tangible solutions but merely propagate neo-liberal agendas.”

Thambo said this was evident in the deterioration of South Africa’s public finances today.

He said despite budget cuts, South Africa’s debt continued to escalate without a believable plan to bring it under control.

“Instead, the National Treasury continues to borrow from the World Bank and IMF, refusing to explore alternatives like borrowing at lower interest from the South African Reserve Bank. Pieterse’s involvement indicates the ongoing influence of the World Bank and IMF within the National Treasury.

“He was central in creating the National Treasury economic paper in 2019, sponsored by proxies of both the IMF and the World Bank, posing as consultants.

“The National Treasury presented this paper as a move towards inclusive growth, economic transformation, and competitiveness. However, this is the same paper that is leading to the privatisation of ports and harbours, the breaking down of Eskom necessary for the ongoing privatisation of electricity, widespread looting by the renewable independent power producers programme, and paving the way for the privatisation of essential services like water and sanitation in the near future,” he said.

Thambo said it was this policy that pushed the implementation of irrational budget cuts.

Thambo said the Treasury told government departments to halt new spending despite rising poverty, a failing local government system, and unemployment reaching alarming levels. Directly linked to these senseless budget cuts by the National Treasury were the high levels of preventable deaths, unrest, and the general decay of law and order in the country.

“The EFF views this as a strategy to further entrench South Africa in neo-liberal and neo-colonial pitfalls, undermining potential progressive economic policies that impact inflation, unemployment, economic growth, and government revenue and expenditure when we take power in 2024.

“We believe that true economic reform in South Africa requires a change in the National Treasury’s character, transparent and inclusive policy formation, and proper political direction. These changes are improbable with the appointment of people like Pieterse, who will likely remain under the influence of Ismail Momoniat, who should have retired in 2022 but appears to still be pulling strings from behind,” Thambo said.

He said currently South Africa’s economic policy lacked direction because the National Treasury acted in the interest of the financial sector, benefiting banks at the cost of broader development goals. “The appointment of Pieterse is likely to continue this harmful direction, risking a total collapse of our economy,” Thambo said.

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