The new Deputy Finance Minister, David Masondo, is an unusual breed of politician whose varied experience cuts across business leadership and academia.
Not a stranger to public finance, Masondo was in charge of the troubled Limpopo Treasury which was placed under administration in 2011, amid allegations of looting involving tender irregularities.
Under his watch, the national government declared the province bankrupt and put five departments – the Treasury, education, roads and transport, public works, and health and social development – under administration in December 2011.
However, the action did not taint his image, as his career continued to soar post regional politics. In an interview with City Press, Masondo said although the administration had its problems, the decision to put it under administration was not justified.
As deputy finance minister, Masondo will assume the role of chairperson of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) which has been rocked by financial and governance turbulence. This has since led to the appointment of a commission of inquiry into its affairs.
Restoring order and good governance in the state-owned asset manager which manages R2.2trn in investments on behalf of public servants’ pensions would undoubtedly be Masondo’s most immediate task.
The PIC has been without a functional board since February, after the directors resigned en masse, together with the former chairperson and deputy finance minister Mondli Gungubele.
It later emerged that the board was instructed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to resign. The board had been riven with division, and tainted by allegations of corruption. The process of appointing a new board is still underway.
Work cut out for him
The asset manager is also without a permanent CEO, following the departure of Dan Matjila in November 2018 and the suspension of the interim head Matshepo More in March.
“Masondo has his work cut out for him at the PIC,” said economist Lumkile Mondi.
“He is a highly competent individual, whose experience in the public sector would be useful in restoring good governance and diligence in the PIC,” he added.
In 2015, Masondo was appointed acting chief executive of the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), an agency tasked with promoting the competitiveness of the local automotive industry.
Prior to joining AIDC, the member of ANC’s Economic Transformation Committee was Chief Director for the Department of Economic Development in Gauteng.
“He is hard working and is always pushing for transparency. I believe that his association with the Limpopo Treasury won’t count against him, but that experience will be highly useful in his new role,” said Mondi.
With a PhD in the automotive field, Masondo has lectured political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and currently heads the ANC political school.