It was time individuals stopped playing with state agencies and other government components as if they were their personal toys, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday.
“These are public institutions and they contribute to the economy,” he said at a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday following his reappointment on Sunday night. “We have been clear that one of the risks to our fiscal framework is the financial state of stateowned companies.” Gordhan, who appeared determined, was flanked by Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago and Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas.
Gordhan’s remarks can be interpreted as a reference to state-owned entities such as the embattled SA Airways (SAA). Speculation is rife that former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired by President Jacob Zuma for allegedly refusing to give SAA guarantees when asked by the airline’s board chairperson, Dudu Myeni, believed to be close to Zuma. Gordhan said Nene’s decision on leasing aircraft from Airbus still stood.
“The previous minister’s decisions stands until there is a necessity to change them. SAA is a vital national asset that we need to look after. We will contribute whatever we can to stabilise it.” On the country’s new nuclear deal which Zuma wanted expedited, Gordhan said: “We will do that which is required to be done by government. We will do it in a fiscally responsible way and only spend what we have.” The nuclear deal is also rumoured to be one of the reasons for Nene’s sacking.