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By Martin Williams

Councillor at City

Zupta puppet Molefe no match for tough-as-nails Gordhan

Molefe is unfit to be an MP, doubly unfit to hold the keys to Treasury.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan exemplifies Hemingway’s definition of courage as “grace under fire”. He has remained courteous and focused, under extreme pressure from Zuptas still seeking to loot Treasury.

They are at it again on Wednesday, while Gordhan delivers a budget which tries to balance populist expectations against the prudence demanded by ratings agencies.

President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas have sought to unsettle Gordhan ever since they were thwarted in their attempt to install Des van Rooyen as finance minister in December 2015. Both the Hawks and the sheepish National Prosecuting Authority have been used to intimidate Gordhan.

The elevation of Saxonwold shebeen patron Brian Molefe to parliament is another assault on Treasury’s custodian. The public is being groomed to accept that Molefe will supplant Gordhan, either as finance minister or by being given a position which usurps Gordhan’s authority.

Gordhan once described the dismissal of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene as “an attempted coup on the Treasury”. A Treasury coup remains the Zuptas’ goal, and Molefe is their instrument, along with the ANC Youth League, Women’s League and others.

They call for Gordhan to be redeployed. Whose purpose would that serve? It would suit the Zuptas, and those on their payroll, whose clamour is based on narrow self-interest.

READ MORE: Replacing South Africa’s finance minister, or his deputy, would carry a heavy cost

Through either stupidity or deceit, or both, they use the latest banking scandal, involving illicit currency trading, to attack Gordhan.

In fact this is not a matter for the finance minister. This is the business of the banking regulator, under the authority of the SA Reserve Bank. So it is wrong to implicate Gordhan.

In addition, the Competition Commission is not a court of law. The commission investigates anti-competitive activities and refers them to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication. Further up the ladder is the Competition Appeal Court. So guilt is far from decided. Nor is the culpability of any bank a foregone conclusion.

The Zupta-inspired campaign seeks to get banks to reopen their doors to a family, some of whose transactions have been labelled “suspicious” by the Financial Intelligence Centre.  And Molefe’s redeployment is a blatant attempt at grand-scale theft. I am astonished that there has not been more of an outcry about his reincarnation as an MP.

Let us not forget, Ajay Gupta and Molefe phoned each other 58 times between August 2015 and March 2016, according to Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report. At the time, Molefe was Eskom chief executive. Under him, Eskom gifted the Guptas R587 million to buy a coal mine which had been squeezed from Glencore under Gupta-induced pressure.

There is a corruption cloud over Molefe. How could he pledge to uphold, defend and protect the constitution, unless he tweaked it to say “uphold, defend and protect the Guptas”?

Molefe is unfit to be an MP, doubly unfit to hold the keys to Treasury. As we watch Gordhan deliver possibly his final budget speech, imagine him being replaced by the Zupta puppet. And weep, as the weak Molefe wept when Madonsela exposed him.

DA city councillor for Joburg Martin Williams

DA city councillor for Joburg Martin Williams

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