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Conflict of interest: Pravin Gordhan declares his shares in major banks

By BO Staff Writer

Today, parliament’s Ethics Committee released the Register of Interests for Members of Parliament (MPs). ENCA journalist, Lester Kiewit tweeted various pages of the thick book of truths.

Kiewit tweeted four pages of declared interests of the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa who has shares in multinational companies like McDonald’s, received a litany of gifts and has a page-long list of properties.

Kiewit also tweeted the interests of the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan,whose main declared assets were shares in the stock market. The minister also received gifts including some R200 chocolate from Nestle, R700 Johnny Walker whiskey and wine, and flowers and a keyring worth R500.

Gordhan has shares in all of the big four banks, Standard Bank, Nedbank, ABSA and First Rand (i.e. FNB) worth R665,000 in total. Two of these banks, Standard Bank and Absa are set for prosecution after the Competition Commission found they were rigging the price of the rand. Absa is also implicated in the Public Protector’s preliminary report on apartheid looting by the bank’s predecessor, Bankorp.

Interestingly, Gordhan – who was handpicked by white capital for the finance minister job – also has shares in Johann Rupert’s Remgro (R141,000), Steinhoff (R52,980) and apartheid media giant, Naspers (R 237,600 – which owns DStv, another monopoly supplier.)

At the very least, we should publicly ask: Is it really best practice that a Finance Minister can hold all these shares whilst having ultimate sign off on banking licences?

How can he talk about the problems of oligopoly in South Africa whilst holding significant shareholdings in companies with monopoly/oligopoly positions?

Why do we spend all this time speculating on how the Gupta family has allegedly gained from political relationships, but we have no evidence of it. Here we have a Finance Minister who directly controls policy and clearly can/does gain!

At the very least, we can question the significant conflict of interest present here.

In October 2016, the Black First Land First (BLF) movement lodged a “Notice of Motion supported by a founding affidavit” against Gordhan “and some of the banks.”

In their papers, the movement said they show how Gordhan is unable to do his job because of the conflict of interest arising from the fact that he has shares in the banks he is meant to regulate as minister. They say this makes him compromised because “he is beholden to the big banks”.

Gordhans lawyers postponed the matter 3 times before responding to BLF’s damning application.

We should ask, why is it not a scandal when a finance minister who is meant to regulate capital, has shares in all the major capitalist monopolies in the country. Why does big business get away with forcing the president to put Gordhan into office, and the gives him awards (Sunday Times Business awards)?

4 thoughts on “Conflict of interest: Pravin Gordhan declares his shares in major banks

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  2. R650k is not that high….plus most of us have pension funds invested in those shares including Naspers and so on….Only way to get around this is for all cabinet ministers/ MP to have no shares ….

  3. Let me give my 2cents comment its so obviously that the man have talent to hide money imagine
    a finance minister with shares in all the major banks makes you wonder why all these protest is about

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