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Gordhan promises: We’ll use rand crisis to reform SA, take tough decisions

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For non-South Africans who witnessed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Davos briefing yesterday, there was little newsworthy in what he said. As the FT’s Martin Wolf reckoned afterwards, Gordhan pretty much stated the obvious – that the country needs to get its act together fast, to address structural issues and rebuild confidence among local and global investors. For a man with Wolf’s deep knowledge of economics, such issues are so basic they’re not up for debate. But those running the SA show of late don’t share his understanding of modern economic realities. So it was a delight to see a subdued Gordhan provide further evidence that Nenegate is proving to be a watershed. He spoke of a “crisis being useful as it brings the realities into your face”; how over the past few weeks the cabinet “has been asking the tough questions about what we need to do differently”; and that within the ANC “there are a significant number of us who want to restore integrity….knocks are a good reminder to live within your means.” As you’ll read in the transcript, I managed to get in a couple of questions. Not so sure about Gordhan’s answer to the first one (re: capping Government spending) but was delighted to hear he’ll be having a close look at redressing what happened to his appointees at SA Revenue Services, who were were swept out after Gordhan was demoted in 2014. Hope springs. – Alec Hogg

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