Former transport minister Joe Maswanganyi, a supporter of former president Jacob Zuma, was elected unopposed on Tuesday to head parliament’s vital standing committee on finance.
Maswanganyi said he would be guided by the constitution on fractious issues like the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank and financial support for failing state-owned enterprises in chairing the oversight body.
“We will be guided by the constitution. The people who serve on the committee are politicians, so there will always be robust debate. But we will play oversight in terms of the guiding sections of the constitution,” he told African News Agency (ANA) after he was elected.
Maswanganyi added that he would ensure the committee provided strict oversight in terms of National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service.
“We take the implementation of policy aimed at improving the economy and tackling youth unemployment very seriously. We will call them here and question them on targets if they fail to meet them,” he said.
Maswanganyi replaces Yunus Carrim in the post.
He is one of a number of portfolio committee chairs whose nomination sparked controversy because they served in Zuma’s cabinet and were viewed as firmly partisan.
The group also includes former Zuma-era mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane and communications minister Faith Muthambi, who have corruption allegations hanging over their heads. Zwane is expected to be confirmed as the chairperson of the portfolio committee on transport on Tuesday as parliament completes the process of appointing committee chairs.
During his tenure as transport minister, Maswanganyi had to deal with allegations of state capture of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.