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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Gordhan hits back after Mbalula’s Transnet jibe

Mbalula threatened Gordhan saying the Public Enterprises Minister 'would be moved if he couldn’t do his job.'

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said his department has the capability to improve performance and mitigate challenges.

Gordhan’s reaction comes after African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula’s threat that Gordhan would be moved if he couldn’t do his job.

Mbalula said heavy vehicles should be moved off the road and Gordhan should urgently fix Transnet so that freight is moved by rail, not road.

“That is the policy of the ANC. Comrade Pravin, move faster or otherwise we will move you. Comrade Pravin, move faster at Transnet or otherwise we will move you.”

Gordhan hits back

Speaking to 702, Gordhan said there have been many efforts with to improve the operational performance of Transnet and address its shortcomings.

“When you are trying to patch together a broken organisation where most of the money was spend illicitly… it takes time, it takes effort, and it takes a lot of courage to move out the wrong people from Transnet, but its now on the right footing… We have the political will to resolve challenges,” he said.

ALSO READ: Gordhan appoints former top Anglo American exec Andile Sangqu as new Transnet chair

Gordhan said the new Transnet board, which includes chair Andile Sangqu, a former top executive at Anglo American SA, and former vice president of the Minerals Council of South Africa among others, should help addressing its issues.

“With the new board, we will instil a new sense of emergency and those who want to stand in the way of change and increase transparency about the problems that we have will have to be dealt with in a very emphatic kind of way.”

ANC clarifies Mbaks comments

The ANC also issued a statement during its Women’s League conference at Nasrec on Saturday seeking to clarify Mbalula’s comments.

The party’s national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said Mbalula’s words did not amount to a call for Gordhan’s removal but was a “clarion call” to fast track policy interventions to address SA’s rail and freight logistics challenges.

“Government alone cannot succeed to roll back all these challenges. South Africans from all walks of life have a singular and collective obligation to help the government to craft policy interventions in addressing such challenges,” it said.

“In so doing, we do not have the luxury of time on our side. We must move with the requisite speed in resolving all these societal challenges that threaten the livelihoods of our people,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.

Additional reporting by Lunga Simelane

ALSO READ: ANC SG Fikile Mbalula flip-flops on Pravin Gordhan