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Gigaba ditches briefing for 'urgent meeting' with Ramaphosa

Apr 11 2017 11:12
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has ditched a media briefing after being called to an “urgent meeting” with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, National Treasury said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Gigaba was meant to speak at a briefing following a meeting with labour at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) offices in Rosebank.

This is part of his planned engagements with stakeholders in business and labour following the Cabinet reshuffle which saw him replace former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Former deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas was replaced by Sfiso Buthelezi.

Rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch subsequently downgraded South Africa to junk status over concerns that a change in leadership would result in policy uncertainty. Rating agency Moody’s, which has South Africa rated two notches above junk status, has placed the country on review for a downgrade.

Treasury director general Lungisa Fuzile has since confirmed his resignation and intends to leave mid-May.

Treasury issued a statement on Monday indicating that Gigaba met with the banking community last week. “This is part of a series of engagements the minister plans to undertake to restore confidence domestically ahead of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring meetings in the United States in two weeks’ time, where he also plans to meet with international investors,” said Treasury.

READ: Treasury finally gets US trip, but now under junk status cloud

The minister will also meet investors in Johannesburg and Cape Town later this week. The engagements are to assure stakeholders that policies have not changed, contrary to rating agencies' concerns.

Fin24 reported that Gigaba will travel to the US in an effort to restore investor confidence. But businessman and leader of campaign Save South Africa Sipho Pityana told Fin24 there would be “strong debate” among business and labour on whether to support this roadshow.

Pityana explained that when President Jacob Zuma recalled Gordhan and Jonas, it was a "kick in the teeth" for business and labour representatives who accompanied Gordhan on his trip.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) is set to brief media following its engagement with Gigaba, and will share its views on the Cabinet reshuffle.

ALSO READ: Gordhan axing intensifies ‘total state capture’ notion - Fedusa

Fedusa previously said the removal of Gordhan indicates the process of total state capture is firmly set in motion, and called for Zuma to resign. 

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