Tasked with arguably the most difficult job in South Africa at the moment, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan met business heads and the media at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to report back on the investor road show he recently undertook.
With a team comprising of South African labour, government and business heads including billionaire Christo Wiesse, Gordhan took to the US and the UK to meet over 250 investors. These investors collectively manage several trillions of dollar assets, split between those who are invested in local companies and those who buy the debt issued by government.
“We need to be aware that with Moody’s visit commencing on Wednesday this week, we need to provide very concrete evidence over the next few months that we are not just talking,” says Gordhan.
Among other areas, Gordhan says the three main areas that investors were critical of were the fiscal risks, growth and state-owned companies.
Gordhan says business confidence in our own economy was raised as well which he ensured investors that government is working very closely with the business sector to create a better climate.
“The investor world is watching South Africa very carefully. They still have confidence. The time is now for South Africans to show a similar confidence in our economy,” says Gordhan.
Gordhan confirmed that the firing of former Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, which is widely known as “9/12”, was also questioned by the investors, which he assured them that Treasury is stable.
On the recent allegations about Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas, being offered Gordhans’ job by the Guptas’ before it was actually given to Gordhan and Van Rooyen in December, he says he has no knowledge of it.
“The Sunday Times’s senior source [from Treasury] is unknown to us. Treasury is not in the habit of engaging in this kind of conduct,” says Gordhan.
Gordhan assured business leaders and the media that he had never personally got an invite to dine with the controversial Gupta family.
A second letter from the Hawks was reportedly leaked earlier this week which gave Gordhan until 4pm on Monday to provide answers for the 27 questions he was given. When he was asked about this, Gordhan got a bit emotional, opting to cut his answer short.
“The key issue is not the letter itself but the fact that a second letter was leaked,” says Gordhan.