Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has indicated his full support for axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
Speaking away from his prepared speech at nonprofit organisation the Aryan Benevolent Home’s fundraising gala dinner at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC in Durban, Ramaphosa pointed to a number of people who were unhappy about President Jacob Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle last week.
A number of people have spoken out against this, Ramaphosa said.
This included secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. Many other people were deeply unhappy about the Cabinet changes.
“I want it to be clear that some who continue to serve the government are not in support of the action that has just been taken. Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas are two comrades … who stood firm against corruption, who stood firm against having the Treasury of our country being captured, who stood firm in support of great values and doing the right things,” Ramaphosa said in recordings The Citizen has listened to.
“And to be rewarded with a dismissal when you’ve being doing the right things, in my view, is hugely unfair and unacceptable.”
Ramaphosa dubbed as “unintelligent” an “intelligence report” that Zuma used to fire Gordhan and Jonas.
Gordhan himself also called the report “unintelligent” at the memorial for late struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada on Saturday.
The report said Gordhan, through his visit to the United Kingdom on an investor roadshow, was acting against the country.
“That was the most unintelligent report that I have ever heard of,” Ramaphosa said. “I told the president that I was totally against this move. And I reminded him that I was once a victim of a false report. I reminded the president, I said ‘your name was also on that list. You were also supposed to be party to a false plot against President Mbeki.’
Listen to audio of Ramaphosa speaking below
He was referring to a report of 2001 that claimed ANC insiders were allegedly plotting to physically harm and oust then president Thabo Mbeki.
The subsequent investigation had been immediately denounced as an attempt to use the police to suppress legitimate political challenges to Mbeki’s leadership of the ANC.
Ramaphosa said: “And I said to [Zuma] I could not accept that he would take action against the minister of finance who has served the country so well and dismiss him on the basis of a false, spurious intelligence report. I said I could not accept that.”
These matters not only affected Zuma as a president, or Cabinet, but also the country and its economy, he added.
“We must therefore have the courage to talk against the action you are taking, which is exactly what I am doing. Many people are troubled by what they see happening to their own beloved country.”
Ramaphosa further pointed to Ahmed Kathrada, who “would have equally been deeply disturbed” and “deeply unhappy about what has taken place”.
A year ago, Kathrada wrote an open letter to Zuma asking him to step down.
“Being a veteran when he penned that letter, he said it pained him to write a letter like that and was relating to troubled times that he saw his beloved movement going through.
“And we are going through troubled times … we have been through troubled times before and we shall overcome. We will get over this very difficult time that we are going through. The good thing with these difficult times is that we are now able to talk about them. In the past, we were not talking much about them,” he said.
“For instance, when the minister of finance was unceremoniously dismissed … this time round we have talked about that and we will continue to talk about it because many of us are unhappy with the way the minister of finance and his deputy were dismissed.”
- The memorial of struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada at the weekend turned into a fiery rally by South Africans, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
- A packed Johanneburg City Hall included the attendance of veterans, axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who received standing ovations.
- Kathrada’s wife and struggle activist Barbara Hogan, in a commanding address, also madethis call.
- She slammed Zuma for his “dastardly deeds” in axing Gordhan and Jonas.
- Government had postponed until further notice Kathrada’s state memorial following the reshuffle and Hogan said it was because they were scared of what would be said.
- “Instead, they are so fearful of even his voice that they saw fit to cancel his commemoration because they are afraid … today we stand here and we say we will not
- be silenced,” she said with her fist in the air and to loud cheers.
- “Mr President, do you have ears to hear and eyes to see?” she asked.
- The #BlackMonday movement has asked South Africans to unite behind the values enshrined in our constitution and wear black today.
- “We can no longer be passive. Let us start the change we wish to see in our beloved country and save the legacy that Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and liberation leaders fought for,” it said.
More audio of Ramaphosa speaking below