South Africans should be delighting at rapid progress made by the country’s “un-fireable” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, recently re-instated after being shunted into the shadows following his 2014 “belt-tightening” Budget speech.
On Friday, Gordhan met around five dozen business leaders in Johannesburg, following up on a conversation with some of them in Davos. His message was clear – the country faces an uphill struggle to avert a credit down rating to “junk” – the consequences of which will be dire. He will do his bit within Government. But executives have to help row Good Ship SA away from the escarpment by tempering their cynicism, especially with global counterparts.
Everyone likes a fighter, South Africans more than most. And Gordhan is showing his grit. Despite well-founded misgivings over rampant crony capitalism and other cancers within the public sector, the reinstated Finance Minister deserves all possible support. He cannot fix everything overnight.