The National Treasury, on Wednesday, confirmed the imminent departure of Director-General Lungisa Fuzile.
Earlier reports have it that Fuzile had asked to leave his post at the end of this month, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
The sources divulged that Fuzile, 51, had made his intention known to former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan a day before he was fired by President Jacob Zuma.
He has been in the post for six years and is expected to terminate his contract with the government next year – precisely in May.
President Zuma, in his intelligence report, presented to the ANC last week, had alleged that the treasury director-general and Gordhan were plotting to weaken his government. Hence, the reason why he cancelled Gordhan’s investor roadshow in the United Kingdom.
Fuzile said in an interview on Monday that he doesn’t want to be permanent in his role at the Treasury – a statement many described as a confirmation that he will soon leave.
However, when asked by journalists on Tuesday whether he had resigned he replied: “I am still here”, and added that his priority was to ensure a smooth handover to the new finance minister, Malusi Gigaba.
There are now fears that Fuzile’s resignation could lead to an exodus of technocrats in one of South Africa’s best-run government departments in the wake of the cabinet reshuffle.
Fin24 reported that some sources within the Treasury confirmed that Fuzile is a crucial stabilizing factor in the institution.
South Africa’s credit rating was on Tuesday, April 4, downgraded to junk for the first time in 17 years. The agency cited the cabinet reshuffle as the main reason behind the downgrade.
President Jacob Zuma wielded an axe to his cabinet just after midnight on Thursday, appointing ten new ministers and ten new deputy ministers.
Five ministers and three deputies lost their jobs while others received new portfolios. The most controversial but expected of these, was the replacement of Pravin Gordhan with former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Lungisa Fuzile, a former teacher, serves as Director-General at The National Treasury. He joined the National Treasury in 1998 as a Deputy Director.
In May 2011, he replaced Lesetja Kganyago, who is now the central bank governor. He joined the treasury at a time when South Africa’s economy was struggling to recover from the global financial crisis.
Fuzile also emerged as the head of the Intergovernmental Relations division. In this position, he gave strategic leadership to the development and maintenance of the intergovernmental fiscal framework, including the reviewing of the formulae for the transfer of resources to provincial and local governments.
In July 2008, Fuzile was appointed the Deputy Director-General in the Asset and Liability Management (ALM) division.
He was responsible for cash management, the financing of the deficit and financial oversight over state-owned entities in that capacity.
Among other things, his primary responsibilities include managing the department, producing a sound and sustainable national budget, managing government’s financial assets and liabilities, overseeing government accounting policies and standards, regulating public sector procurement through policy formulation, developing appropriate fiscal policy and financial management, and improving financial management throughout the government.
Lungisa Fuzile is a Master of Commerce graduate. He began his career as a school teacher, later switching to university lecturer before joining Statistics South Africa in January 1997.
In a statement, Fuzile is quoted as saying his departure and that of his previous principals should not necessarily lead to a change of course as the mandate of National Treasury is reinforced by the Constitution and a number of other legislations.