/ 3 March 2016

Gordhan’s plan to reassure credit ratings agencies, investors

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and private sector representatives are set to go on a road show in a joint effort to address credit ratings agencies and investor concerns.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and private sector representatives are set to go on a road show in a joint effort to address credit ratings agencies and investor concerns.

Government and representatives from the private sector will embark on a road show next week to meet with credit ratings agencies and international investors in a bid to address the threat of a credit ratings downgrade, finance minister Pravin Gordhan said.

He was speaking at a lunch hosted by advisory firm Deloitte on Thursday afternoon.

The road show is an outcome of the meetings held between the government and business in recent weeks aimed at addressing the problems facing the country.  “Next Monday we are starting a road show jointly, with some people from the private sector both in the UK and the US to meet ratings agencies and other investors,” Gordhan said. 

Addressing media shortly after the lunch, Gordhan said that the meetings would include bondholders, in a bid to “explain the budget to them and the kind of direction we want to go in”.

The private sector had indicated that they had wanted to attend, in a joint effort, and the logistics were being worked on to include them, Gordhan said.

Other commitments to emerge from the meetings with the private sector, was the intention by the private sector to make people with needed skills and expertise available for non-executive directorships at state owned entities Gordhan said. Offers included making skills available to government departments on pro-bono basis he added.

Cautious on Tom Moyane
Gordhan was cautious in his comments on the continued ructions between the finance ministry and Tom Moyane, the commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Addressing the media afterwards however, Gordhan pointed to the Cabinet statement released earlier on Thursday. In it the Cabinet said it reiterated the message by President Zuma on the need to “respect the institutions and processes” created in terms of the Constitution and the law. 

It said that the president was dealing with the “matter of the South African Revenue Service commissioner and the minister of finance through the correct channels using correct legal prescripts”.

 The president was putting measures in place to “address the issues responsibly and amicably” for the benefit of all, the Cabinet statement said.   

In response Gordhan emphasised the comments made by the president expressing confidence in the minister of finance. “As you know, our main task is to manage the post budget situation and the contribution we make to a stable economy… in a way in which we continue to give both hope and optimism to South Africans and those who do business here.

“As far as all of the other matters are concerned the Cabinet statement speaks for itself; that there are processes at work which will hopefully constructively resolve all of the issues that are in the public space and allow each of us to do the work that we are required to do, to contribute to progress in South Africa.”

In response to questions on his relationship with Moyane he said: “That is what the Cabinet statement addresses … That we have to work on it and leave it to the president to give us the kind of direction that we need to take. But at the end of the day, what you want is a professional set of relationships and a professionally-run institution, which focuses on its core business.”

When asked for more detail regarding the processes being undertaken by the president to resolve matters, Gordhan referred all questions to the presidency.