Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan
Johannesburg – Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Friday, called on business leaders in the retail motor industry to take collective ownership of the country’s economic future while speaking at a Motor industry Staff Association event (MISA).

Gordhan said the motor industry needed to educate their staff on the scourge of state capture, promoting integrity, fighting corruption, and driving transformation.

“State capture is unacceptable and it is a matter of national importance that we must rid our country of this disease, as it is undermining not only our sovereignty, but also our fiscal sovereignty,” he was quoted as saying.

MISA is a trade union that represents over 42,000 workers in the motor retail sector.

Gordhan said South Africa held an enormous amount of potential and hope, but urged business leaders to take collective ownership and ‘board the transformation train’ for the long-term economic sustainability of our country.

“South Africa is still one of the countries with the highest inequality in the world,” he said.

“Business leaders must continue to work together with government to rid our country of this economic and social hindrance to growth.”

Gordhan said that business leaders and their staff should also be educated on what the long-term implications of state capture were, and what any further credit rating downgrades would mean to the man in the street, and especially the poor.

Gordhan was sacked as South Africa’s finance Minister by President Jacob Zuma in March, which saw the country’s credit rating being downgraded to junk status.

On Friday, he highlighted transformation as one of the key elements to the future success of South Africa’s economy and cited inequality, exclusion and youth unemployment as focus areas where business could make a difference.

Gordhan added that a large sum of South Africa’s population were still excluded from economic participation.

“We cannot continue decade after decade of having South Africans who are not able to collect any assets for future generations,” he said.

“This will lead to a toxic economy and society.”

With youth unemployment being a huge crisis, making it an urgent priority, Gordhan called on the private sector to support the Youth Employment Scheme which aimed at giving employment opportunities to one million young workers.

Hermann Köstens, joint CEO of MISA, said the meeting by MISA was one of the initiatives of the organisation that brought business and labour closer together.