Too soon to assess tsunami impact, says Gordhan

2011-03-14 14:26

It was too soon to assess what impact the earthquake and tsunami in Japan would have on South Africa’s economy, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said today.

“It will clearly have some impact, but it’s too early to say what that impact might be,” Gordhan told media following a talk to students at Wits University in Johannesburg.

“Perhaps in a couple of weeks time we will have a better understanding. Right now it’s important to extend solidarity and assistance to the Japanese people.”

Gordhan earlier called on students to think about how to transform the economy.

“We have got to start redefining economic transformation. We are merely mimicking what the previous elite did. We wear the same clothes, live in the same houses and drive the same cars.

“Where’s the social conscience among the new elite? Are we any different, the new elite?”

As part of his presentation titled Making South Africa an Accessible Investment Destination, he asked how South Africans could create a new economic system that was fair and socially just, but still innovative and entrepreneurial.

He said the targets of seven percent growth a year and creating five million jobs in the next decade, were aspirations.

“It’s important that we set the right aspirations for South Africa.”

Gordhan said he could not give a fixed timeline for this, but said they were at the moment busy listening carefully and building consensus.

Surprises, such as the recent recession and the tsunami in Japan could affect the timeline.

“At least we’re clarifying the aspirations [of] what South Africa needs to do.” He said “sooner rather than later” the government should come up with a set of “concrete deliverables” on how to achieve these aspirations.

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