#News24Pravin AS IT HAPPENED: Gordhan - Being engaged offers possibilities

2016-10-27 06:01

See the live updates as they happened when News24 Frontline hosted Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas to discuss the mini budget.


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Last Updated at 04:24
27 Oct 08:51

I have a solid support network, says Pravin Gordhan

Cape Town - "It's not easy to be a target and simultaneously serve the country, but you have a main focus and that's to draw up a credible budget and make sure we put South Africa's best foot forward."

This was the response from Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday when he was asked if the fraud charges brought against him by the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA) affected his preparations for the budget.

Gordhan said he has a "wonderful team" at National Treasury - individuals who choose to stay amid difficult circumstances.

"They can work elsewhere, but they choose to work at Treasury. We should applaud them. They stay there, do their work and commit themselves to South Africa."

27 Oct 07:58
Standing ovation for Gordhan.And that's a wrap from the News24 Frontline.

27 Oct 07:57
Gordhan: Do not disengage - being engaged offers possibilities.

27 Oct 07:56
Gordhan: The question is how to mobilise hope. So people should become active and find avenues to seize opportunities.

27 Oct 07:56
Gordhan: I believe SA has a product to sell to ratings agencies and to convince that government has done the best it could and where opportunities lie.

27 Oct 07:55

Bloomberg asks: In February we asked if you still feel if you have political backing - do you still feel that way? And do you feel the mini budget is credible enough to relay fears of ratings agencies?  

Gordhan: Our preoccupation is not with the ratings agencies - it is to put SA on the right direction.

27 Oct 07:55
Gordhan: The numbers are important but the soft side is important too.

27 Oct 07:55

27 Oct 07:54

27 Oct 07:54

27 Oct 07:53
Gordhan: Can South Africans become involved in making the country work? We will get there.

27 Oct 07:53
Gordhan: We all have the responsibility to build confidence in SA.

27 Oct 07:52
Gordhan: All of us - not just Treasury but also government - must speak as a team.

27 Oct 07:52
Gordhan: At Treasury we attempt to be colaborative, pragmatic and within the law. and some people don't like that.

27 Oct 07:52
Gordhan: We have common agreement in government on the Constitution and the NDP. yes there will be situations where there will be actions or articulations which in reality move in different directions - then you have to seek alignment again.

27 Oct 07:51

Gordhan answers:

Bottom line is there is agreement that SAA and SA Express should be looked into re consolidation. When we get to the end result we will have to make a decision and start a process. They carry guarantees and there is room for rationalisation. It might take another 6 to 9 months. On telecom side our intent must be to seek rational solutions and synergies. We need to get things DONE quickly rather than just talk.  

On education: There used to be a single portfolio - it is a matter of choice and about where we find ourselves in development.  

Re next week: There is still a lot of noise in the air. What else can one say except - I am choosing my words carefully - I told Bloomberg this is just political mischief - CEOs in support call it politically motivated - I leave it to you to work that out.    

27 Oct 07:50

Questions from the floor:

Question 1: KPMG representative asks on inclusiveness: You seem to speak alone about this - does the rest of government agree? Are you acting as a team as a government in other words?  

Question 2: Media24 - You indicated the need to see education as a whole - can you explain - would it not help to consolidate portfolios in a single education portfolio? And secondly: Can you give some idea of how you are building up to the court date next week?  

Question 3: Francois Conradie: Can you say something about equity partner for SOEs?

27 Oct 07:48


Edward Hilton: Minister Gordhan, if the opportunity arose for you to become SA president in the next term would you be available and willing to take it?

27 Oct 07:47

27 Oct 07:47

27 Oct 07:46

27 Oct 07:45

Mcebisi Jonas: Party barons aren't good for democracy

Cape Town - South Africans place too much emphasis on political parties and party barons aren't good for democracy, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said on Thursday. Jonas was part of a National Treasury delegation appearing on News24 Frontline on Thursday morning. Interviewed by News24’s video editor Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath and senior Fin24 journalist Matthew le Cordeur, Jonas said politics plays an increasingly important role in the world in which we live. "If we have the right political environment, you can create certainty and ensure investor confidence," Jonas said. "Unfortunately bad politics aren't good for the economy."

27 Oct 07:41
Floor open to questions.

27 Oct 07:41

Tell us about your support network?  

Gordhan: My family and colleagues at Treasury - it is not easy for Treasury workers to be a target while serving SA in the best way they can. Let us applaud them.

27 Oct 07:40

News24: Next week you (Gordhan) will appear in court.  

Gordhan: In our work you always have a main focus and our team's responsibility has been to produce a credible mini budget and to put the best foot forward for the country. The rest we will worry about next week.

27 Oct 07:40
Gordhan; Global discourse now about how things can share. In SA we are a noisy democracy and the question is if we can find something in the best interest of SA right now - to bring the diverse voices together and create some common purpose.

27 Oct 07:39
Gordhan: Politics can be seen as one of the most disruptive factors - also on a global level. Global elite is worried about the level of distrust between elites and citizens and diminishing trust - some elements we are seeing here.

27 Oct 07:39

Question: About bolstering confidence - what are international investors still concerned about regarding SA?

Gordhan: Portfolio investors include far sighted ones who see huge opportunities in SA and Africa - for example the Chinese coming in. SA Inc needs to see a greater indication that we want FDI to come in. Portfolio investors want to know that their money is safe here. They want to know if politics will be unsettling and if we can rely on our institutions.

27 Oct 07:37
Minister Pravin Gordhan and his team may not have time to respond to all your questions this morning, but we will pass it on to them. Thank you for those sending in their questions. Great ones. Keep it coming.

27 Oct 07:37


Abe Mosiuoa  (Former Councillor): Hon. Minister   Isn't it high time for the treasury to deduct a certain amount from these sleeping MPs... the so-called President included, who are constantly taking a nap during sittings? My take is that, they earn a lot of money for doing almost nothing except to vote!   

27 Oct 07:35
Gordhan: We have to do work on the renewable side too. Public officials must be careful how they articulate themselves and give SA a consistent message. Ultimately it is about data and the law that will decide the outcome.

27 Oct 07:34
Follow the conversation on Twitter (@News24) with the hashtag #News24Pravin. If you miss the live interview, simply catch it later on News24.

27 Oct 07:33
Gordhan: There are all kinds of lobbies but essence re nuclear is to make it transparent and what we require.

27 Oct 07:32
Gordhan: Nuclear is not ruled out. There is an intent to move in a nuclear direction but question has always been what we really need and how to procure it and affordability. All that is a work in progress.

27 Oct 07:32

Question regarding nuclear and renewable energy: There seems to be a disconnect between Eskom and Treasury.  

Gordhan: We have one government and one Constitution - so anything anybody does in government you have to stick to the rules.

27 Oct 07:31


Motsamai Mofokeng: Firstly, let me thank Minister Pravin Gordhan for giving us hope and for resembling all that our movement, ANC cadres were supposed to be (selfless, integrity and lots of humility).

My questions to the finance minister:

1. HOW much contribution did the president of the country contribute to this budget if any? The question is asked in light of the perceived tensions between the finance and the president.

2. The minister mentioned that treasury has received lots of proposal/models which they're considering for free higher education for the poor. Do this models include the Wits students models? If no, why not?

Thank you again for being a good role model!

27 Oct 07:30
Gordhan: For SOEs there is a structure for issues of governance and SOEs finances and for private sector participation. Soon we will make those choices. It is work underway. We need an acknowledgement that in many instances we cannot go on as we are now.

27 Oct 07:30
Gordhan: There are more South Africans with goodwill. There are a few who think downgrades don't matter. But if that factor is to be contained, then the majority of responsible people in SA must get involved and find solutions benefiting the majority and not just a minority.

27 Oct 07:29

Regarding SOEs:

Gordhan: We want to see projects guided by law. We don't want to see boards showing the middle finger to good governance and financial matters. Question should be if it poses a fiscal risk.

27 Oct 07:28


Margie Pretorius: Minister Jonas says we need active citizenry to talk to government. The amaMpondo people of the Xolobeni area are trying to talk to government but government won't listen!  Please comment on the report released by the NGO Sustaining the wild Coast last week claiming that the Wild Coast toll road would be a gross abuse of tax payers billions.

27 Oct 07:26
Gordhan: We don't want stone throwing and burning. We want constructive solutions.

27 Oct 07:26

Viewer question: Can we introduce an education tax?  

Gordhan: All proposals will be considered.

27 Oct 07:25
Gordhan: We cannot afford to pay so much interest on our debt. So government and the people have to take some short term pain while building a good approach - it means to have a common set of ideas of where we want to go.

27 Oct 07:25

News24: Where will the money come from? R17.6bn proposed.  

Gordhan: What are we actually saying: We have 0.5% growth - so less tax coming in. Also have to consolidate our debt. With all these threats, we must use expenditure constraints and secondly you shift priorities.

27 Oct 07:25

Gordhan: The distribution of funds for education as a whole - including basic education - is important to look at.  

27 Oct 07:24


Songezo Ralarala: What is the possibility of The Department of Finance declaring December as tax free month as a way of thanking  taxpayers for their continued support and contribution?  

27 Oct 07:22

News24: Yesterday you (Gordhan) went to speak to the students outside Parliament. What is a realistic timeframe for their demands?

Gordhan: When you have large movements of people around a cause, maximalist demands often emerge. We have to be careful and place these matters into perspective. Our policy is clear, the poor ones will be taken care of. We also said we received a number of technical proposals which we need time to evaluate. The essence is how to leverage the fiscus and private sector resources. Those who can afford to pay must pay, that is clear. We need a pragmatic approach where we recognise difficulties and realise certain shifts take place and we find money now and in February and also look at it long term. The aim is to relieve pressure on poor students BUT we need to look at the education system as a whole.

27 Oct 07:21

27 Oct 07:20
Gordhan: None of this can be done by government, labour or business alone. We must create the right level of trust, cooperation to get South Africans to say that despite our differences if we can put inclusive growth at the top of the agenda.

27 Oct 07:19

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