Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan appears to be back-pedalling on his global roadshow plans.
Fin24 reported that Gordhan told Reuters on the sidelines of the UK investor roadshow he had not been recalled to South Africa by his President, but "asked to come back home" and had been planning to do so anyway.
Gordhan said he had not planned to be part of the US leg of the investor roadshow anyway, according to Reuters.
National Treasury spokeswoman Yolisa Tyantsi said that Gordhan only planned to do the London leg of the road-show and then Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas would take over. Gordhan had commitments in South Africa on Friday, she said.
This is not made clear by a National Treasury media statement issued on Saturday March 25 and contradicted by a statement from the Presidency on Monday, confirming Gordhan and Jonas were called back to the country.
The Treasury statement announced to the nation that "National Treasury is embarking on a non-deal international investor roadshow". It said that Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas and director-general Lungisa Fuzile would meet investors for two days in London, one day in Boston and two days in New York.
The three would be joined by leaders from business and labour as has become the pattern since Gordhan was reappointed to the Treasury in December 2015. The statement did not say that Gordhan would only do the London leg of the trip.
Gordhan was reappointed after an economic firestorm greeted President Jacob Zuma's decision to fire incumbent Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and replace him with Des van Rooyen who now runs the local government portfolio in Cabinet.
Gordhan has since created social compacts with business and labour and undertaken two previous roadshows to rebuild confidence in South Africa with global investors.
"SA is a vulnerable country with a small economy and global perceptions have been negative. A key part of rebuilding confidence in South Africa has been the role of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan along with business leaders like Jabu Mabuza," said GIBS professor Nick Binedell.
"It is quite unusual and serious for a president to call back a finance minister from a roadshow. It could make people uncertain again. We have undertaken important processes to build confidence and this is a bad signal."