Jackson Mthembu defends Pravin Gordhan against Malema and his EFF ‘bullies’

The ANC chief whip says he's backing Gordhan against EFF insults out of principle and refuses to fear the party's 'stormtroopers'.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, in a series of tweets, showed support for Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan in the face of accusations from the EFF ahead of his testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Mthembu questioned EFF leader Julius Malema’s assertion that Pravin Gordhan was an “enabler of state capture”, saying that if the EFF had any evidence they should “do the right thing and deposit an affidavit to this effect” with the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

He then went on to say that “comrade” Gordhan had in fact “exposed state capture”, and that it was the actions taken by the minister to clean up the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) “that have made him the enemy” of the EFF.

The ANC politician believed the EFF’s claims against Gordhan were “ludicrous”, also taking the party to task for allegedly directing “racial insults” towards the minister.

READ MORE: Why the EFF’s Gordhan conspiracy theories are dangerous

Mthembu added that these claims and insults “started when he acted on corrupt activities at Sars and a number of SOEs” and that through doing this, Gordhan had stepped on some prominent people’s toes.

According to the chief whip, a failure to “stand up against” EFF “bullies” would lead to “many” being afraid to come before Justice Zondo’s commission “to assist the country in stopping this rot”.

He added that he had been in Gordhan’s corner before when times were tough and was showing support for him again “out of principle”.

“I will now await the insults that @EFFSouthAfrica stormtroopers are known for,” he said in the last tweet of his thread.

Gordhan’s long-awaited testimony is set to be heard at the Zondo inquiry on Monday.

His time in the hot-seat was initially set for last week Thursday but was moved to a new date after he applied for a postponement.

His sworn statement to the commission dated November 11 2018 was leaked to media, prompting Zondo to issue a statement of condemnation.

In the evidence, Gordhan detailed his encounter with the controversial Gupta family in his first term as finance minister between 2004 and 2009. He said he was requested by Zuma to a meeting at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.

(Additional reporting by ANA)

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