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Corruption is a disease - Gordhan

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan urged politicians to balance their political and economic priorities.

Pravin Gordhan, Finance Minister. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Officials must learn to better balance their political ambitions with economic priorities, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

He was speaking at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Sandton, north of Johannesburg.

The event drew controversy after former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was invited to address the conference.

His attendance led to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu withdrawing from the event, saying he could not share a platform with someone who supported the US invasion in Iraq.

Gordhan said balancing internal and global issues was crucial to the running a country.

He called on officials to communicate decisions.

The finance minister also spoke about government's support for small business, saying the lack of family-owned companies was a chronic problem.

Gordhan touched on corruption, calling it "a disease that only an entire nation can eradicate."

Earlier, chess master Garry Kasparov called on South Africa to invest more in education.

Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos was the surprise guest at the summit.

He spoke briefly to delegates and was well-received.

Various anti-Blair groups are now protesting outside the Sandton Convention Centre.