SA’s economic credibility hinges on Gordhan’s job call

28 Mar 17:59

Quick take on the day’s events from political analyst Daniel Silke:

South Africa sits at the edge of yet another politically-induced crisis relating to the position of her Finance Minister and prudent economic management of the economy. Pravin Gordhan is clearly under extreme pressure. Should he survive,he will have to elicit the support of key members of the NEC's top 6 and perhaps, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

If this group is not prepared to draw a line in the political sand, his position may be untenable.

What is at stake is the economic credibility of the country precisely at a time when growth looked set to show some green shoots, the currency had strengthened and there was a moderate uptick in business confidence. The country can barely afford another round of politically induced risk to influence her core economic indicators.

Whatever the eventual outcome of this unedifying set of events which once again pit the interests of the country against the vested interests supporting factions within the ANC, South Africa will be under pressure to regain the momentum she was just beginning to secure.

28 Mar 17:39

Zuma's threat to Gordhan can't be shrugged off

Investors have been roiled by President Jacob Zuma's threat to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The rand sank by almost 3% and yields on the country's benchmark 10-year bond jumped by as much as 30 basis points on Tuesday after Bloomberg News reported that Zuma had told allies he planned to fire Gordhan. But, within the course of the morning, investors were starting to pare those losses.

By recalling Gordhan in the midst of a high profile international roadshow with investors, Zuma has sent an unmistakable and profoundly negative signal about South Africa's attractiveness as a place to invest.

Read the full column by Marcus Ashworth
28 Mar 17:33

In other news related to the country’s finance institutions, SARS boss Tom Moyane charged that Judge Dennis Davis who heads up the Davis Tax Committee has attacked and affronted the Revenue Service and therefore there has been a breakdown in trust.

SARS briefed the standing committee on finance in Parliament on the organisation’s quarterly report ended 31 December, while Moyane responded to a number of burning questions from members of Parliament. 

David Maynier, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of finance, asked Moyane to respond to a number of issues, such as his earlier statement that Davis was no longer fit to serve on the specialist tax committee. 

Maynier put it to Moyane that the “breakdown of trust” between SARS and Davis was due to the Revenue Service resisting an investigation by the committee into SARS’ systems and operations. 

“You’re resisting the Committee’s investigation into tax administration. For a period of several months they’ve (the committee) tried to make contact with you so that the investigation can proceed.” 

Moyane categorically denied this, saying any allegations that it has hindered or resisted an investigation are simply untrue.  – Liesl Peyper

READ: SARS boss Moyane: Judge Davis attacked, affronted us:
28 Mar 16:48

Cape Town - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan arrived at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria with an entourage from Treasury.

This is seen as a strong show of support for Gordhan, whose legal team is facing off with 14 Gupta-owned companies over the blacklisting of their bank accounts by South Africa’s top four banks.

Gordhan is seeking a declaratory order to protect the Treasury’s executive from having to intervene in the closure of the Guptas’ bank account by the country’s top four banks.  

READ: Treasury entourage shows courtroom support for Gordhan
28 Mar 16:21

In other Gordhan-related news SARS boss Tom Moyane has lashed out at critics of the Revenue Service, telling Parliament on Tuesday that the unwarranted attacks on the organisation are having a negative impact on the confidence of taxpayers.

“We’ve seen a disturbing trend – tax compliance levels are beginning to deteriorate and we’re already in a dire economic situation that negatively impacts on our collection ability.”

Briefing Parliament’s standing committee on finance on its quarterly performance at the end of December 2016, Moyane came out guns blazing against those who criticise SARS, implying that the revenue collector is unable to fulfil its functions.

“So much has been said about SARS,” Moyane said, “and it’s extremely damaging to us as a leading government agency.”

READ: Moyane lashes out at SARS critics
28 Mar 16:09 Markets seem optimistic: Rand now trading at R12.87/$, still 1.04% weaker than its overnight close in New York, but very much firmer than its intraday low of R13.11.
28 Mar 16:05 Court has adjourned for the day, but stay with us for more comment, video interviews and a recap of the day's proceedings.
28 Mar 15:56

Maleka speaks about the role of the president in the matter.

The relief Standard Bank seeks logically extends from the relief the minister seeks.

28 Mar 15:55

Back in court, Standard Bank arguing their case.

Adv Maleka for Standard Bank: Courts are the only institution that can resolve this application.

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