Treasury chief Lungisa Fuzile has resigned, sparking fears of a mass exodus of experienced staff from the department following the sacking of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. News24 confirmed his resignation on Wednesday, after reports of him leaving surfaced on Tuesday.
The Treasury's Director General had been with Gordhan at the same investors' event in the U.K. which was cut short by President Jacob Zuma, and many expected him to leave after the minister's sacking.
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.
Speaking at the South African Revenue Service's briefing on economic growth and tax collections, Fuzile said if he did resign, it would not be to punish anyone.
Quoting three insiders, Fin24 reported on Tuesday that Fuzile had asked to leave his post at the end of April, a year before his contract ran out.
Zuma had previously told senior ANC figures that the reason for Gordhan's sacking was intelligence reports which showed Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas and Fuzile were organising an investment strike meant to weaken his position.
Two sources within the Treasury previously told Huffpost SA that Fuzile was a crucial stabilising factor in the institution.
"If he goes, others might follow," a source said, who added the pattern at other alleged "captured" institutions like Sars was to bring in new senior staff and eject veterans.
Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas' axing were cited as being partly to blame for the country being downgraded to junk credit status by S&P.
Fuzile took control of the Treasury from Lesetja Kganyago in May 2011 when South Africa was in the heart of the global financial crisis.