After four days of uncertainty in Africa’s most developed nation, a market bloodbath and three finance ministers later, Pravin Gordhan stepped up as the man whom South Africa will look to for the rescue of its financial credibility.
Addressing a media briefing at the Government Communication and Information System in Pretoria, Gordhan, who replaced the finance minister of four days, David Rooyen, says he wants to defend South Africa’s credit rating.
Gordhan stated his intentions of talking to South African Airways chairperson, Dudu Myeni, who many say is to blame for the axing of former finance minister over an Airbus deal that went sour.
“I will talk to the chair telephonically in the next 24 hours. Obviously the previous ministers’ decision stands until the necessity to change it for any reason. So I am walking into a new job, but there are old decisions that have been taken,” says Gordhan.
His most difficult job will be to manage South Africa’s R1.8 trillion debts. Gordhan confirmed that, on a meeting held on Wednesday, the government agreed to move forward with the controversial nuclear programme.
“Part of that decision is that there will be a formal procurement process in accordance with South African law. We will only do thigs, whether it’s nuclear, whether it’s anything else, that is affordable,” says Gordhan.
Gordhan says Treasury plans to redouble its efforts to ensure efficiency of expenditure across the public service. He notes the financial state of state-owned companies is a risk to the Treasury’s fiscal framework.
“Let me emphasise that any support to these companies will be done in a fiscally sustainable manner,” says Gordhan.