03/12/2017 09:02 SAST | Updated 03/12/2017 09:02 SAST

Ramaphosa: 'Presidential Fiscal Committee Being Used To Weaken Treasury'

He talks tough on Treasury being undermined.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa believes the presidential fiscal committee is an institution aimed simply at weakening Treasury, City Press reported on Sunday.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in September.

"It was mainly created to get funding for free tertiary education. I am strongly opposed to the fact that Treasury is being undermined in this way. I cannot see a longer-term future for it," Ramaphosa said in reply to questions by City Press.

The ubrupt resignation of Treasury's budget office head, Michael Sachs, was attributed to Zuma's interference through the committee, which cut R50-billion from other government budgets, to be used to finance free tertiary education.

This week, S&P Global downgraded Eskom's long-term credit rating while Moody's postponed its decision until after the country's budget would be announced in March next year.

The problems at Eskom played a key role in the downgrades, according to Ramaphosa.

"The downgradings are the result of a perfect storm in which Eskom is trapped," he said.

"The downgradings were done because of problems concerning corporate governance and financial stability at Eskom. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether these problems can be solved. And I think they can very definitely be solved."

Investigations were underway around Eskom.

"Eskom is a huge company that plays a powerful role in our economy. Eskom, in fact, keeps our economy running, and therefore it must be properly stabilised – at a financial level, but also at an operational level and at the level of corporate governance," he said.

Ramaphosa said the state entity was the jewel of the country and the economy and should be given proper attention.