South Africa’s ruling party’s leadership came under scrutiny as South Africa’s finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, addressed business heads on the 2016/17 budget at a Deloitte dialogue in an effort to instill confidence a head of the country’s widely projected downgrade to junk status.
While the leaders of the private sector showed confidence in the finance minister and his plans for the budget, this was not the case for the African National Congress’s leadership.
A non-executive director of RCL Foods, Roy Smither, posed a question which was widely appreciated by the business heads in attendance, stating that they shouldn’t focus on how the country arrived to its current situation.
“The ANC is, in my view, the only party that can take us to a better place than we are in now. What I would like to ask of you is whether you think there is the leadership in the ANC as it’s currently structured to bring about this change so that we can move from the vicious to the virtuous,” asked Smither.
Brand Pretorious from Deloitte, among others, commended Smither saying it was the most crucial question that needs to be addressed.
In his reply, finance minister Gordhan said he believed that those in their 40’s and upwards had the capabilities to lead South Africa going into the next 20 years.
Gordhan emphasized the importance of social cohesion in South Africa in order to survive the country’s current situation saying that investors have more faith in the country than people in it
“South African’s need to go past our own negativity and present a united front to rating agencies and foreign investors and say ‘you are most welcomed to do business with us’, “ says Gordhan.
The majority of Gordhan’s speech was a re-iteration of the 2016/17 budget which was accepted in confidence by the business head. He joked on the controversial 27 questions that he was given by the HAWKS regarding the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) assuring that they’ll all be answered in time.
“When the truth finally emerges, we’ll see what happens,” says Gordhan.
On his allegedly sour relationship with the current commissioner of SARS, Tom Moyane, the finance minister says they have to work on it “at the end of the day.”
“What you want is a professional set of relationships and professionally run institutions which focuses on its core business,” says Gordhan.
Gordhan closed of the dialogue by making everyone stand and repeat his closing quote at the budget speech, which was received with cheers.
STRUCTURAL REFORMS THAT GORDHAN SAYS WILL PROMOTE GROWTH
- Fiscal reforms; strengthen tax administration
- Banking sector reforms
- Increasing quantity and quality of infrastructure
- Capital market development
- Improve institutional and legal framework
- Simplifying regulation and addressing administration
- Enhance the design of labor market institutions
- Easing product market regulations