UK holds SA in 'high regard' - Gordhan

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cape Town - The UK business community holds South Africa in high regard, both as an investment destination and as a springboard into the rest of Africa, said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Briefing the media following President Jacob Zuma's state visit to the UK last week, Gordhan said there was also a consensus from the UK that South Africa had handled the recession well despite the loss of almost a million jobs.

"(South Africa) is held in high regard, partly because of its phenomenal capacity to contribute to development in Africa, the recognition that it has the biggest economy in Africa, that we have a lot of potential to work with overseas roleplayers - both government and the private sector - in order to promote economic development on the African continent," he said.

Gordhan said the question of nationalisation didn't come up at all in the delegations held between the UK and South Africa. "In my interactions it wasn't even an issue," he said.

The Treasury on behalf of the government also went on a fundraising mission for next year's fiscal requirements.

He said the government had been looking for $1.5 billion and eventually took $2 billion in borrowings, for the 2010/2011 financial year.

Gordhan also issued a stern warning for businesses not to inflate prices during the World Cup, saying that though it may bring about short-term gain, the country would lose out in the long-term as overseas tourists chose to go elsewhere.

Also at the briefing, the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies added that the Competition Commission would take legal action against any companies which were found to be involved in anti-competitive practices ahead of and during the event.

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