Zuma denies rift with Gordhan

IOL minibudget 2016 pravin gordhan calm hand gesture file GCIS South Africa's finance minister, Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Linda Mthombeni

Durban - President Jacob Zuma has denied there was a rift between himself and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and has assured the country that he would not fire Gordhan from his post.

In the same vein he has refused to fire Sars boss Tom Moyane over the stand-off with Gordhan.

Zuma said yesterday a mechanism was being sought to find a workable solution between Gordhan and Moyane.

He said there were no clashes between him and the minister of finance as reported at the weekend.

“Other reports have insinuated that the position of minister Gordhan could be in jeopardy.

“The president wishes to emphasise that minister Gordhan remains the minister of finance and any positing that the position of the minister is under any threat is dismissed with the contempt it deserves,” said presidential spokesman Bongani Majola.

Majola added that Moyane and Gordhan would find a workable solution to their differences.

Zuma was forced to recall Gordhan to his old post last December after the disastrous axing of Nhlanhla Nene.

On his return to the Treasury, Gordhan has been caught in a stand-off with Moyane.

Moyane briefed Parliament late last year on his restructuring of Sars.

On Friday Gordhan accused a group of people of trying to destabilise the economy and the country after he was sent a list of 27 questions by the Hawks.

The Hawks have confirmed that they are investigating a “rogue unit” at Sars when Gordhan was head.

The minister has received backing from the ANC, with the ruling party warning of people wanting to destabilise the country.

Gordhan has also received support across parties in Parliament. Opposition parties including the DA have called for a further probe of the conflict between the minister and Moyane.

The stand-off has been going on since his return to the Treasury in December last year.

Moyane is reported to have continued with restructuring plans despite warnings by Gordhan to halt them.

It has been reported that this was a proxy war between Zuma and Gordhan.

However, Zuma denied this, saying the problems between the two men would be resolved.

Zuma’s performance in Parliament today during the no-confidence debate could signal where he stands on achieving macro-economic stability.

Meanwhile, as the country’s economy is in murky waters, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and a cluster of ministers are expected to speak.

Ramaphosa will face tough questions in the National Assembly tomorrow on how to get the economy back on track.

He has a tough task to sell his plans for reviving non-performing state-owned entities.

Gordhan and other ministers are expected to shed more light on how to get the economy out of the woods and get beyond projected growth of less then 1%.

Opposition parties warn that South Africa could follow Brazil, which was downgraded to junk status last week by ratings agency Moody’s, for failing to implement structural reforms in the economy.

The DA’s David Maynier wants Gordhan to produce a turnaround to avoid a ratings downgrade.

THE MERCURY

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