South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba speaks to journalists at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban

Durban - Government will not be spending money it doesn’t have, this was the message finance minister Malusi Gigaba took to the WEF delegates in Durban.

Gigaba revealed on Wednesday he had initially wanted to be an Anglican bishop while growing up, but then studied teaching only for apartheid to drive him into politics.

“South Africa is a stable country, we have independent institution who are playing their oversight role like the public protector and the competition commission. Government will not be spending money it doesn’t have but this does not mean we will not be investing in our economy,”

There is a need to transform the economy and create a thriving manufacturing sector and focus more on beneficiation and the development of SMMEs.

“There is an absence of economic activities in the townships and rural areas, many of the problems that are faced by the rural folk are a result of them being far away from the city centres. There are programmes we are currently doing to transform the economy and ensure that we have inclusive growth,”

Gigaba went on to say that it is unfair to say that transforming the economy meant there will be corruption.

“It is unfair to mention economic transformation and corruption in the same sentence. We cannot assume that just because we are bringing in black people to the economy there is going to be corruption. We cannot grow the economy on the basis of a large black population without any assets. Government and the private sector need to ensure that black people are skilled not only to be a middle class but to own the means of production,”

He said corruption remains a major concern in government and they continue to fight it in the different departments.

“At Home Affairs, where I come from, they have a counter corruption unit and it has arrested public servants who were involved in corrupt activities. Some 22 were home affairs staff and the others were SAPS members. Government continues to fight corruption,”

He encouraged young people to join politics because Africa has a population that is getting younger.

“Africa’s population is getting younger, we need to see that reflected in politics. Young people see things differently that our aged politicians,” said Gigaba.