South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has called the Hawks investigation “mischief in the real sense” adding that it was not doing the country any favours.
Speaking to SABCNews in New York ahead of the South Africa Tomorrow Investor Conference, he said that everyone concerning the Hawks-SARS investigation knows there’s nothing to investigate and the sooner it’s put to bed, the better for the country.
The Finance Minister is leading a high powered government, labour and business delegation to the conference – now in its fourth year and driven by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange – that has seen overwhelming interest from American investors who have oversubscribed for the event.
“Let’s call it a matter of importance because it’s important for government to support the private sector and the trade unions in our endeavor to create a- investment prospects, b- through that investment grow our economy and through the growth in our economy create more jobs and stability in the country and of course that will help the fiscal side as well, so if we want more money for poor students who need subsidies for their fees, then we need to make sure that we have the economic growth that produces the tax revenue which can help us do the things we need to actually do.”
Investors and ratings agencies alike continue to express concern about political tensions in the country and the continued Hawks investigation that hovers over this Minister’s head.
“Politics is a factor all over the world and that it is infecting the situation in Britain, in the EU, in the United States as we stand on the streets of New York, I’m mean there’s no better politics being played out anywhere in the world than what you see here at the moment and how it’s going to turn out for the biggest economy in the world. The Hawks stuff is mischief in the real sense and it’s not going SA any favour. It’s not about me as an individual, it’s about us as a country. Everyone concerned knows that there’s nothing to investigate and the sooner they put this to bed, the better for the country and the better for all of us.”
With growth expected at just 0.4% this year and expected to barely scale the 1% mark in 2017, we asked if his message to investors here was that the worst is over after recent comments in London that the economy might have bottomed out.
“We’re not getting into recession, we’re above zero. Originally, a month or two ago including the IMF or the World Bank said we’re going to hit zero and if we’re looking upwards of one percent, good. And if we can increase confidence in our economy, investment in our economy and this partnership that we’re trying to develop, then there’re better prospects as we go forward but there’s hard work that’s required, there’s tough decisions that are required and there are also structural changes and transformation that is required. And I think if we work hard enough at it as labour, government and business, we can produce a different South Africa in the next few years.”
From an organizational stand point, Zeona Jacobs Directs Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the JSE.
“When we started four years ago we attracted about 70 or 80 investors. We’re now over 130 investors and we had to close down our portal, so I think the interest in the country is there, I think there’s still a belief in the country and we need ensure that we take advantage of that interest to tell our story.”
The list of investors attending the conference includes Morgan Stanley, HSBC Global Asset Management, Goldman Sachs and General Electric among a host of capital, wealth and equity fund management companies.[Source: SABC]