01/06/2017 10:41 SAST | Updated 01/06/2017 11:25 SAST

Trevor Manuel Says We Should All Be Worried About Treasury

The former minister of finance is concerned about leaks to the Gupta-owned ANN7 news channel.

POOL New / Reuters
South Africa's Finance Minister Trevor Manuel chats with ruling African National Congress President Jacob Zuma in Parliament in Cape Town during the swearing in of members and the formal election of the country's president, May 6, 2009.

All South Africans should be worried about Treasury, says Trevor Manuel.

The former minister of finance told HuffPost South Africa on Wednesday that Treasury operates on a strict culture of confidentiality, and if selective leaks start to appear there is serious cause for concern.

"I hear ANN7 -- I don't watch the channel -- has been reporting from an internal report about alleged irregularities at Treasury. Now, a report like that isn't for public consumption, it isn't published, and it highlights issues identified by Treasury's senior management, who then acts on it.

"If information from that report is leaked selectively, it portends that there are other things at play and all South Africans should be worried about that. We should be worried about Treasury," he said.

There have been fears about Treasury being captured after the removal of Pravin Gordhan as minister of finance by the President Jacob Zuma, a close friend and business associate of the Guptas. Gordhan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba, who has also had various dealings with the Saxonwold family.

Manuel, who was appointed the minister of finance in 1996 and served in that position until 2009, when he was moved to another portfolio by Zuma, says Treasury cannot afford leaks.

"When we, for example, finalise the budget and the tax provisions and the minister and his deputy is in Cape Town and staff sit in Pretoria, we can't have leaks. And during my time, we never had leaks."

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced he would investigate ANN7's claims. Called "Big Expose: Treasury's fall from grace", the report by the Gupta-owned television station made claims that Treasury was guilty of 54 instances of financial misconduct in 70 months, and that no one had been held accountable.

The Integrated Financial Management System project was reportedly supposed to integrate all provincial government department's financial management processes, but that it had been found to be inadequate.