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South Africa needs to “reduce noise” in its political system: Treasury official

Comments (0) Africa, Latest Updates from Reuters, Politics

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa has to reduce the “noise” in its politics in order to attract investment and improve confidence, a senior Treasury official said on Friday.

“We have got to reduce the amount of noise in our political system, especially as it pertains to various policies that are under consideration so that we can improve confidence and make our country an attractive investment destination,” Director General Lungisa Fuzile said at a conference in Johannesburg.

Africa’s most industrialised country has been gripped by political upheavals ranging from a failed impeachment attempt against President Jacob Zuma for breaching the constitution to media reports that he is at “war” with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the past few weeks.


(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by James Macharia)

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Finance minister says South Africa not on the path to austerity

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s recent budget was not aimed at implementing austerity measures and would not go the same path taken by some countries in Europe, the finance minister said on Thursday.

Gordhan’s pledge to narrow the budget deficit to 2.4 percent of GDP by 2018/19 was aimed at placating ratings agencies that had warned of downgrades.

“We are nowhere near austerity. We haven’t cut anybody’s pension, we haven’t raised the retirement age, haven’t cut any jobs in the public sector. Austerity as it was applied in parts of Europe is not what we are trying to do here,” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said at a business conference.

On the reported dispute between himself and the South African Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane, Gordhan said the dispute would be resolved in due course.

The two men have clashed amid a probe into a unit which allegedly operated unlawfully in the department under Gordhan’s watch during his previous stint as commissioner.

South Africa’s rand currency fell nearly 4 percent on Friday, its biggest daily loss since 2011, after Gordhan said there were attempts to discredit him and the integrity of the Treasury through the investigation.

The investigation also led to media reports of a fallout between Gordhan and Zuma, which both men have dismissed.

“I will stick to my job and do the best I can,” Gordhan said.

Gordhan said Treasury officials would meet investors in London, Boston and New York next week in a non-deal roadshow meant to clarify South Africa’s economic plans.

“(We will) explain the budget to them and the kind of direction that we want to go in,” Gordhan said.


(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by James Macharia)

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South Africa’s Finmin says new investment law no ‘deal-breaker’

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday defended a controversial investment law, saying investors had nothing to fear.

Pretoria let bilateral treaties agreed with European nations shortly before the end of apartheid lapse in 2013, triggering concern among foreign investors over whether the replacement law will offer the same protections.

President Jacob Zuma signed the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill into law last month. The law would come into force on a date yet to proclaimed by Zuma.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, reappointed last month after a bungled cabinet reshuffle, told 702 Talk Radio investors would be adequately protected.

“I don’t think it should be a deal-breaker because we provide world-class investment protection,” Gordhan is qouted as saying.

The law rolls over existing guarantees against state seizure of assets from a raft of individual, 20-year old treaties but removes the explicit possibility of recourse to international arbitration in the event of a dispute.

European nations affected by the lapse in bilateral treaties include Germany, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.

Europe accounts for around three-quarters of all foreign direct investment in South Africa, although Pretoria has been pushing hard to attract capital from other big emerging markets such as China.


(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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