Fight corruption, urges Gordhan

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26-4-2013

Johannesburg - The notion that corruption only takes place in government is one sided, as corruption is becoming a social problem Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

“On every transaction there’s government on the one side and business on the other side. Very rarely does government do business with itself. Corruption is becoming a social phenomenon, there’s no point in pointing fingers…

“It’s becoming a cultural problem in South Africa. We need to fight the culture of corruption, of making easy money,” Gordhan said at a media briefing.

There was little coverage by the media of corruption that involved the private sector. “The focus on government is a way of deflecting attention from the fact that it happens all over,” he said.

“If we don't get rid of the culture that we are now talking about, we will not be able to fight this at a technical level,” Gordhan said.

Gordhan also addressed media on various issues, including a meeting of the Brics finance ministers and governors, which reflected on the Durban declaration of the Brics Summit held in South Africa in March.

At the summit, President Jacob Zuma said the establishment of a BRICS Development Bank would go ahead. It would be the first formal institution of the Brics group, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Gordhan said that over the next six months, there will be intensive work done around the bank. This will include issues such as the mandate of the institution, as well as how the bank will be capitalised, among others.

“The idea is that the report will be given to the leaders of the Brics countries when they meet at the time of the G20 Summit in September,” said the minister.

Brics countries discussed the reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which recently held its meeting last week.

“The broad area of concern raised as Brics ministers is that the IMF executive board completed the quota formula review in January 2013 without reaching an agreement on a new quota formula,” said Gordhan, adding that this was regrettable.

Participation in the IMF was dependent on variables decided by formulae and this determined voting strength.

“One of the concerns we had is that the previous review was biased against some emerging markets and developing countries.

“There needs to be a change in voice and representation.  If the current formula is not reformed, Sub-Saharan Africa will suffer. A persistent loss of representation has become untenable,” said the minister.

Gordhan said there was support for a third chair (of the total 24) IMF board to be allocated to Africa.

At a meeting of the G20, it was agreed that there was muted recovery in the global economy.

What needed to be addressed was how to create jobs and grow economies.

“The global economy is slightly better than it was last year. The recovery can be seen in some parts of the world [but] Europe remains a serious area of concern. The key debate now is shifting towards how we generate global growth, and how we create jobs for young people,” said Gordhan.

He said under the circumstance, the South African economy was doing “doing fairly well”.

“It also means that we also have to think outside of the box as the South African economy and do a lot more work in implementing policies in the government sector and private sector. We can’t do it if we stick to old models,” he said. - SAnews.gov.za

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