Finance Minister Highlights Need to Balance Continuity with Structural Transformation
Maxwell Hall, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 (0)79 329 35 00; Email: maxwell.hall@weforum.org · Prudent fiscal management will be maintained under the new finance minister of South Africa · Procurement budget will be used to support structural transformation by building black-owned companies in South Africa · The government will continue to address investor concerns and remains committed to tackling corruption · Follow the 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa at http://wef.ch/af17 Durban, South Africa, 3 May 2017 – Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Finance of South Africa, has given an assurance that the government will maintain fiscal prudence while it pursues the structural transformation of the economy. In a one-on-one interview at the World Economic Forum today, Gigaba said that the targets for the 2017 budget have already been approved and the challenge is now ensuring they are met. He said the fiscus needs to be managed in a prudent and responsible manner. “We cannot spend money we don’t have,” he said, adding that the independence of the Treasury is safe. The minister said that the focus will be on delivering and implementing programmes that have already been agreed. Key among these is the acceleration of the black industrialists programme and development of black-owned businesses through the government’s R500 billion procurement budget and infrastructure programme. Gigaba admitted that he has been critical of the ANC’s black economic empowerment programme to date, saying it had focused more on share ownership schemes than building genuine entrepreneurs. It is key, he said, to ensure that black South Africans own assets in order to make them part of the mainstream economy and head off growing frustration with economic marginalization. Gigaba said the ANC could be considered to have been too conservative in restructuring the post-Apartheid economy and what is needed is to change the “ownership patterns” of the economy. There are limited opportunities in South Africa’s rural areas and, within the former township areas of the cities, people are generally occupied in menial economic activities such as car-wash businesses and hair salons. Asked about corruption, the minister said it is a “major concern in our country and a major concern in government.” There is a real commitment to tackling the problem, he said, but cautioned against linking transformation and corruption. Gigaba said the government will continue to work hard to attract investment by addressing investor concerns and increase the confidence of local investors. The minister said the next generation of leaders needs to be well-educated and skilled given the different roles they need to play in government. He also suggested that young people, who make up a large part of Africa’s total population, need to become brokers in Africa’s political structures. “They will have a different take on political issues from our predecessors,” he said. More than 1,000 participants are taking part in the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa from 3 to 5 May 2017. The theme of the meeting is “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership”. Notes to Editors Follow the 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa at http://wef.ch/af17Read the Meeting OverviewView the best Forum Flickr photos at http://wef.ch/pixWatch live webcasts of sessions at http://wef.ch/liveBecome a fan of the Forum on Facebook at http://wef.ch/facebookFollow the Forum on Twitter at http://wef.ch/twitter and http://wef.ch/livetweet Read our blogs at http://wef.ch/agendaView upcoming Forum events at http://wef.ch/eventsSubscribe to Forum news releases at http://wef.ch/news