Gordhan has created many enemies through his ethics
The spat between Gordhan and EFF leader Julius Malema appears to be a continuation of the fightback by the Zuma camp.
Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Neil McCartney
The ongoing verbal exchange between Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and the public enterprises minister is to be expected because Pravin Gordhan is a man with many enemies.
He stood firm in opposition to the concerted attempt to capture our state by the Gupta family and their followers, so one would expect him to have more enemies than anyone in the country’s politics.
His fight against corruption at National Treasury and in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is well recorded. He went all-out to the extent of being unpopular, even in his own ANC, which was divided between those who opposed the Guptas and those who supported them.
On the one hand, there was then president Jacob Zuma, many Cabinet ministers and former provincial premiers who propped up the Guptas. On the other, Gordhan, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor, among others, formed a strong force against state capture and corruption.
Gordhan was unwilling to let up even when he was being vilified and shunted around.
He found himself suddenly shifted to the less prominent cooperative governance and traditional affairs department, later reappointed to finance and then fired again. Under him both the National Treasury and SA Revenue Service (Sars) had operated efficiently.
Treasury ensured all government departments, SOEs and other state institutions accounted for the budgets they were allocated.
With Sars, revenue efficiency increased and its collection exceeded targets, only to lag under Tom Moyane, who still maintains he was the best Sars commissioner ever.
Within a few months of becoming minister of public enterprises, Gordhan ruffled many feathers at SOEs. He was labelled an enemy, a racist and a man who was fighting against so-called black excellence. (This black excellence was exemplified by chief executives who were found to be involved in corruption at their SOEs.)
The anti-Gordhan campaign began as a small protest outside Luthuli House a few months ago. A group of youths, accompanied by a church leader, were bused, mainly from KwaZulu-Natal, to hold a placard demonstration on Beyers Naude Square near Luthuli House. They used all kinds of expletives against Gordhan, a veteran of the liberation struggle.
Interestingly, when asked, most did not know who Pravin Gordhan was, or the issues surrounding Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama and former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni, the people they had come to support.
They demanded Gordhan and Transnet board chair Popo Molefe resign.
Save for the pastor, the members were too young to know the real issues at play. But they had to feed into the fightback strategy of their faceless political masters.
Gordhan was not interested in them or what they were saying.
The spat between Gordhan and Malema appears to be a continuation of this fightback by the Zuma camp against Gordhan.
Juju and his red beret brigade may be fighting somebody else’s battle and, if he is aware of this, he would still be deliberately participating because he has his own axe to grind against Gordhan.