The Presidency has confirmed that Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is acting as the country’s finance minister in the place of Enoch Godongwana.
This comes after Godongwana was reportedly admitted to hospital with a serious illness, according to the Mail & Guardian.
Godongwana’s illness comes shortly after he delivered the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).
Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed Ramokgopa was acting finance minister.
“Yes, he is acting,” Magwenya said.
Godongwana presented a sensible and well-balanced MTBPS earlier this month, but there were concerns that government must use a revenue overrun to narrow the deficit and mitigate lingering and new risks.
Godongwana said a portion of the higher-than-anticipated revenue of R83.5 billion will be used to reduce the deficit in the current financial year and over the MTEF, infrastructure projects and critical public services such as education, health and policing and addressing fiscal risks that were previously identified in February.
These risks include higher-than-projected debt service costs, the public service wage bill and the materialisation of financial risks from some state-owned companies.
Meanwhile, the move as acting finance minister is a step up for Ramokgopa.
Last week, he complained to the African National Congress’ (ANC) top brass about his limited powers.
During his meeting with ANC’s national working committee (NWC) last week, Ramokgopa reportedly complained about his limited powers in the quest to end the energy crisis.
Ramokgopa faces an uphill battle to end the crippling power cuts, despite his frequent briefings assuring South Africans that he is resolving the energy crisis.
This was evident during a recent session of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), as members questioned the scope and powers of the electricity minister.
Ramokgopa expressed frustration about the red tape hindering him from fulfilling his duties, adding that he did not have insight into the Eskom board.