President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan were spotted today, sitting side-by-side in a business meeting in a bid to trivialize the perceived rift between them.
In the course of the meeting, held on Friday, the duo reminded South Africans of the need to shun rumour and work together in order to tackle the country’s shrinking and dwindling economy. The aim of the meeting was to discuss what progress has been made with the Presidential CEO Initiative.
Zuma was flanked by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan; leader of business and labour Mr. Ndaba Ntsele; and President of Black Business Council, Mr. Jabu Mabuza Chairperson of Telkom.
Speaking to the media during a post-meeting briefing, Zuma said great strides have been made; with more than a million paid internships granted for South African youth, which will be rolled out for a period of three years.
“The intended outcome is to build confidence in the economy and reignite growth; ensuring that it [growth] is also inclusive and to help the country avert a downgrade in its sovereign credit rating.”
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Zuma, together with the private sector, also called on South Africans to shun bad-mouthing the country by refraining from “negative utterances.”
“The meeting appeals to all in the country to refrain from public utterances that promote a negative narrative about the country; which undermines confidence in the country and jeopardises job creation and inclusive growth,” he noted.
However, Zuma and Minister Pravin Gordhan added that they are positive that the next rating agency visit next week will yield positive results.
There’ve been a cold war between Zuma and Gordhan over spending at state-owned companies, plans for a multi-billion dollar nuclear power programme, and alleged state capture by the Gupta family. This cold war has been described as a politically driven “witch-hunt” by Zuma’s critics.