South Africa’s embattled Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, didn’t show any anxiety a few days before his fraud trial in the capital Pretoria. Minutes before Gordhan’s CNBC Africa-Discovery Invest Exclusive Insights interview on Friday at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton, CEOs and business executives came to support him. A standing ovation was observed.
“When you are in a situation like we are in at the moment, you gonna need leadership in government. At the same time get the timing right. Leadership in this particular instance, it is needed to inspire confidence. Confidence in your country, confidence in a future and confidence in yourself, that you can influence the present to change the future. That is what is missing at the moment. Some of us are trying, some of us close. I think we can do it. So, if we can take the word confidence out of the normal context and say what is the extra-ordinary thing we can do at this point in time. We are one foot away in finding a way to do it. Let’s take that step,” said Gordhan.
Although Gordhan refused to be drawn on his November 2 trial, he did mention that:
“It’s not nice in a democracy to experience these things.”
Addressing the audience which comprised CEOs and corporate managers, Gordhan said South Africans need to ask themselves if they are really on board with the developed countries in providing energy, jobs and closing the inequality gap. South Africa needs concrete a signal of wealth and concrete projects to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives, both on the government side and the private sector, he said.
My concern is technology, technology is replacing people, he said.
“My favourite mantra is ‘let me do my job,’” he said to the approval of his captured audience.
The interview followed two days after Gordhan delivered his mid-term budget speech in Parliament where he revealed that despite growth being revised down from a projected 0.9% to 0.5% for the year there are green shoots..