04/04/2017 16:34 SAST | Updated 04/04/2017 18:04 SAST

Reports: Now Treasury Chief Lungisa Fuzile Has Resigned, Sparking Fears Of A Brain Drain At The Department

Director General Lungisa Fuzile was seen as a crucial stabilising force.

South African Treasury Director-General Lungisa Fuzile.
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
South African Treasury Director-General Lungisa Fuzile.

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. That is according to a report on Fin24.

The Treasury's Director General had been with Gordhan at the same investors' event in the UK 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.

Quoting three insiders, Fin24 reported later the same day that Fizile had asked to leave his post at the end of April, a year before his contract ran out.

Fuzile informed former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan of his plans to leave a day before Gordhan was fired on March 31, according to the people [interviewed], who asked not to be identified because no announcement has been made yet. He's been in the post of director general for six years. The cabinet last year extended his original five-year term for 24 months.

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.

Fin24 said of Fuzile:

He's overseen the implementation of a spending ceiling and had to steer the nation's finances during a period in which the rand lost more than 50% of its value against the dollar and South Africa's credit rating moved toward junk status.