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Row breaks out in Parly over Gordhan’s absence during upcoming budget debate

It’s the first time in SA’s democratic history that Pravin Gordhan won’t be present for the budget debate.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Pravin Gordhan attended a briefing on the state of Johannesburg's water situation on 12 November 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
parliament,Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan,Pravin Gordhan
Local Politics

CAPE TOWN – A row’s broken out over Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s absence from an important budget debate in Parliament tomorrow.

It’s the first time in the country’s democratic history that the finance minister won’t be present when parties debate the fiscal framework.

Gordhan is abroad, meeting with investors and ratings agencies in an effort to avert the country being downgraded to junk status.

The Democratic Alliance’s David Maynier says the debate should be postponed until next week, so that the finance minister can be present.

“The minister is on an international investor road show which is important, but it’s completely unacceptable for the minister not to be here for a budget debate in Parliament”.

Yunus Carrim, who chairs Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance, agrees that Gordhan should be present, but says he’s not skipping the debate on a whim.

“There are exceptional circumstances in this case that require the minister to move swiftly to reassure international investors and ratings agencies that the budget meets them considerably on their expectations”.

Carrim says it’s not possible to delay the debate as there are tight timelines for budget business to be dealt with.

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas will take Gordhan’s place tomorrow.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

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