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Thu Sep 29 13:54:40 SAST 2016

Gordhan says 'My silence tells it all' on Gupta allegations

RDM STAFF | 14 March, 2016 15:05
Pravin Gordhan
Image by: Trevor Samson

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan has refused to make further comment on allegations that the Gupta family attempted to have his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, appointed as minister.

"My silence tells it all," he said after stating that the 'senior source' quoted in the Sunday Times story as saying that ANC deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, had also offered Jonas the position "is one that is not known to us" according to the Rand Daily Mail.

"I have no personal knowledge of this so there's nothing I can tell you."

Gordhan warned that  "the world is watching South Africa very carefully. Many have been invested in South Africa for a very long time in both bonds and equities."

Gordhan said that the Moody's ratings agency, which was visiting South Africa to reassess its credit rating was "asking some tough questions about where are we going, where are we heading?"

"We need to be aware as South Africans that we need to provide very concrete evidence that we are not just talking. It's time for concrete action, demonstrable action"

Asked about the public row with the SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane, Gordhan said: "Moyane is not a minister. There is no equality between Moyane and a minister. The president has said that he has a process to deal with this issue, so let's give this a little time.'"

Gordhan said his interaction with ratings agencies had been very positive. He said of one ratings agency: "As soon as they saw the budget, they cancelled that meeting and will now wait until June."

"I hope we will be given some breathing space," he said.

Gordhan identified several key questions asked by investors during his overseas road show, which included:

What were the fiscal risks South Africa faced?

  • What would endanger the achievement of the deficit target?
  • Where are you going to get economic growth from?
  • What kind of imposition are the state owned companies making on the fiscus?

He said that the investors they had met with held R600bn of government's R2 trillion debt.

He said he told investors: "As a country we have showed a great deal of fiscal discipline over the last 20 years" and that there was space for further cuts "if the circumstances don't change".

Turning to state-owned enterprises, he said: "The ideal state we want to get to in a few years time is that many of these companies operate on the strength of their own balance sheets."

He said the plan was to improve the balance sheets of the large state-owned enterprises and to "rationalise many of the smaller ones".

Source: Rand Daily Mail

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