Gordhan probe will undo efforts to avoid downgrade - CEOs

Johannesburg - The CEOs Initiative said it believes the Hawks probe into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will undo the work done to ensure economic growth and avoid a credit downgrade.

While the CEOs said they are encouraged by President Jacob Zuma's recent announcement of support for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, they also made a plea to the president to prioritise the country’s economic growth in the “best interest” of the nation.

Following reports on the Hawks’ probe into Gordhan, the CEO Initiative released a statement on Tuesday condemning the damage caused to the work done in the past eight months by business, labour and government to ensure economic growth and avoid a credit ratings downgrade.

Read: Gordhan probe poses significant downgrade risks

“A continuation of political uncertainty would be disastrous for the future of our economy, especially given its fragile state at the moment,” the statement read. “We are thus very disturbed and concerned by recent developments that undermine the work under way.”

The CEOs believe that political uncertainty arising from the probe will increase the likelihood of a credit ratings downgrade in December. Most recently, the rand has taken a dip.

Read also: Rand may slump by 30% as Treasury battle heats up

The CEOs Initiative is a group of about 90 CEOs and business leaders who work with labour movements and government. They expressed their disappointment in the way Gordhan and his team at Treasury are being “attacked”.

“South Africa is facing the stark reality of virtually no economic growth this year,” the group stated.

It believes that those introducing actions against Gordhan and Treasury are “not concerned” about the damage done to the economy. “The impact of their actions  will most sorely be felt among the poorest of the poor.”

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