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Gordhan: I've not been captured by Guptas, recession in SA unlikely

Minister Gordhan responded to questions in a question and answer session in Parliament today.

Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has reiterated he has not been 'captured' by the Gupta family.

Economics cluster ministers have been responding to questions in Parliament.

There have been claims that the Gupta had offered some officials positions within government.

In response to a question by the Economic Freedom Fighters, Gordhan said treasury serves only the people of South Africa.

"Firstly, as a representative, and as the head of the National Treasury, I stand here as a free, uncaptured individual - by anybody. Our job as the National Treasury is to serve South Africa as a whole."

Gordhan also vaguely hints at what he calls a 'well-orchestrated campaign'.

"The facts are fairly clear about where the influences lie and what the purpose of these influences is. It's, at the end of the day, advantaging certain groups of people to the disadvantage of 55 million citizens."

Gordhan also responded to a question over whether a banking inquiry is necessary.

Gordhan responded by stating that South African banks were well regulated, and this is part of Treasury's brief.

"As far as we are concerned, we are compliant, as South Africa, and amongst the best compliant. I think we also have the Banking Ombudsman who has certain powers which perhaps need to be reviewed if there are customers who have issues with the banks."

Earlier, Mineral Resource Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was asked whether he would resign over his statement that Cabinet had agreed to recommend a judicial inquiry into the country's big four banks decision to cut ties with the Gupta-controlled Oakbay Investments Company.

WATCH: Minister Zwane grilled in Parliament

The finance minister was then asked why it took Eskom such a long time to submit its report to Treasury.

To that he responded by saying the power utility's Chief Executive Officer Brian Molefe was better placed to answer this.

He says too much time has been spent on concentrating on the Gupta family.

"There is no doubt that as South Africans we have got to ask the question why, both in this chamber and elsewhere, we spend such an inordinate amount of time discussing one family's influence in this country. It's amazing."

Minister Gordhan then moved on to questions about the economy.

He says a recession in South Africa is 'unlikely'.

Gordhan says the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figure indicate a 'strong rebound'.

"South Africa posted 3.3 percent quarter-to-quarter growth in quarter two of 2016. For the year as a whole, a recession is not our baseline forecast. However, we should understand that there are risks both outside and within the country that we need to recognise."

He says investor confidence, and making sure there are no policy uncertainties, all contribute towards growth.

Gordhan says government will make sure this continues.

"To ensure that economic activity does not contract in the near future, government must continue with its policy reforms and must provide a stable business environment which supports a recovery in business and consumer confidence. The decline in the first quarter of 2016 was primarily driven by a sharp contraction in the mining sector."

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