No discussion in the ANC about replacing Pravin Gordhan – Mantashe

Pravin Gordhan remains the finance minister and there is no discussion in the ANC to replace him, the ruling party’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe has said.

“There is no such discussion… the president, deputy president and ANC have offered support,” he said at the RMB Morgan Stanley Big Five Investor Conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“When it comes, we will engage it. But what should be allowed is to govern and to appoint any minister to any portfolio.”

He emphasised that it was not ministers who made the ANC, but the party which produced “competent cadres” to run portfolios.

“There is no debate about that.”

He referred to how some questioned Nhlanhla Nene’s takeover of the portfolio from “darling of the markets” Trevor Manuel.

Public spats

When that realised Nene’s credentials, the noise died down and when he left he too was a “darling”, Mantashe said.

Last month, the Hawks insisted that Gordhan present himself at their offices to make a warning statement regarding his alleged contraventions of the National Strategic Intelligence Act and Public Finance Management Act.

These related to his approval of former SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement in 2010 and the creation of an intelligence unit at the service. Gordhan refused to comply with the demand.

Mantashe said the ANC had openly told the relevant parties to stop their public spats.

“Because, say there is a case to answer for Minister Gordhan, it doesn’t send any confidence if you run your battles in public.”

“If needs be, give him a summons, he must go to court.”

Political stability

He said the “Hollywood approach” of sending questions did not solve anything.

“You must never paint the picture that you are an institution fighting a government you are a part of. Don’t call for prayers for Treasury. You are Treasury of that government.”

Mantashe said they had investors in mind.

“If you see us in disarray, you are losing confidence. That is part of my responsibility, to always whip people into line. Do appreciate the fact that we are working very hard to ensure this government is stable politically.”

He said impressive growth in the second quarter would not be maintained if fights continued.

The party had its internal mechanisms and members should use them.

Zwane statement ‘reckless’

Reference was made to the call for an inquiry into banks by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, which government quickly distanced itself from.

“We called him as the ANC and the president [told him] that this is reckless. Because when you say there is an inquiry into banks you are discrediting one sector where South Africa is doing well.”

Mantashe said financial institutions were very reliable and independent.

“Our submission is that we must support them to do their work and not interfere politically. Once they are discredited the country will pay the price.”

The ANC had decided to comply with the amendment to the Fica Bill because it did not want to be punished by world markets.

“It may sound draconian, but it is necessary.”

Mantashe said the strength of the financial sector, backed by an independent judiciary, was the insurance for the country that would allow people to “invest and sleep well”. – News24

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