Senior technocrat Andrew Donaldson has left the National Treasury.

The treasury confirmed on Monday that Donaldson left the department at the end of April after having requested early retirement.

His exit follows the announcement that director general Lungisa Fuzile will be leaving later this month.

Donaldson was most recently the acting head of the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) and has been with the treasury for over 20 years. He was appointed deputy director general in 2001.

The loss of Donaldson, alongside Fuzile, will not make new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s job easier as he works to keep government finances on course amid a series of recent ratings downgrades.

Following a Cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma, which left Gigaba holding the government’s purse strings, ratings agencies S&P Global and Fitch downgraded South Africa’s credit ratings. Both agencies cited concerns over the direction of economic policy among the reasons for the respective downgrades.

Gigaba has however given repeated assurances that under his watch the state will not deviate from targets set out in the budget.

Donadson asked to step down from his role at GTAC in December last year before starting the conversation to retire, said treasury spokesperson Yolisa Tyantsi.

His passion is in the academic world and he intends to work in partnership with universities, among them the University of Cape Town, she said.

The national treasury is in negotiations on alternative arrangements to retain his skills to “ensure he is not totally lost to the system,” Tyantsi said.