Banking association 'deeply worried' by decision to call Gordhan back

The organisation appeals to the Presidency & all stakeholders to act in the best interests of SA by avoiding actions that could hurt economic growth & social development.

FILE: Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan at the 2017 Budget media briefing in Cape Town on 22 February 2017. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) says it’s deeply worried by President Jacob Zuma’s decision to call Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan back from his international investor roadshow in London.

The organisation says they’re appealing to the Presidency and all stakeholders to act in the best interests of the country by avoiding actions that could hurt economic growth and social development.

Basa says this decision by the Presidency rolls back the progress made by business, government and labour in building confidence.

It also says that a potential outcome of this could be that ratings agencies may decide to downgrade South Africa to sub-investment grade.

The association says that this action moves against the imperative of ensuring political and policy certainty.

Earlier Eyewitness News reported that Treasury had confirmed that the Finance Minister would be returning to the country on Tuesday morning.

Gordhan said he had not been recalled to South Africa by President Zuma, but "asked to come back home" and had been planning to do so anyway.

In a statement, Treasury spokesperson Yolisa Tyanti also confirmed that Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas would abandon the US leg of the international investor roadshow.

The Finance Minister has been sharply critical of certain aspects of government, condemning corruption and saying that independent institutions need to be protected.

The SACP has supported him in public and said that anyone who attacks him is doing for factional interests.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has also appeared to defend Gordhan in the past, while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa extended his political and personal support to the minister when he was charged with fraud.

When Gordhan delivered his budget speech last month, almost everyone in the National Assembly gave him a standing ovation - but four ministers - Including State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini stayed in their seats.

(Edited by Refilwe Thobega)