Amanda Watson
News Editor
3 minute read
1 Jun 2019
6:18 am

Gordhan fights on

Amanda Watson

The minister's way back into cabinet was cleared when he took the public protector's findings on review.

Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan during the swearing in of the new Presidential Cabinet at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, 30 May 2019. Picture: Jacques Nelles

It has been roughly four years since former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza took on Pravin Gordhan – and the attacks have not stopped.

Speaking after being sworn in as minister of public enterprises on Friday night, Gordhan told media he had a job to do.

These included getting the state-owned enterprises working properly and to continue to unravel State capture.

“This will of course have a whole lot of ripple effects and as these ripples begin to reach people, we’ll see lots of fake narratives as we’ll see elsewhere in the world and South Africa,” Gordhan said.

“You might already see an increase in the Bell Pottinger type of activity so you see people who are doing the good work exposing corruption, and we’ll keep the public informed,” said Gordhan, adding that he would not be intimidated.

“The EFF conducted vociferous public demonstrations outside the Zondo Commission in November 2018, calling him a ‘dog’, the ‘Indian cabal’ stuff and the allegations about the daughter enriching herself through state contracts, then the Canadian bank accounts allegations,” said Gordhans spokesperson Adrian Lackay.

“The motives – albeit political – remain sinister and the allegations unsubstantiated.”

It’s been a tough week for self-styled “commander in chief” Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Shortly after Scorpio journalist Pauli Van Wyk’s article showing where and how VBS money had flowed to the EFF (which Floyd Shivambu denied), Gordhan was chosen for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet – despite having a public protector finding against him.

“To appoint Pravin was to show a middle finger to the chapter nine institution (i.e. the Public Protector), the Constitution and to the democracy,” Malema said during an interview.

“All those who love our constitution, all those who support this democracy must stand against the appoint of Pravin and we will be face to face with the president on June 2, because from now onward, Cyril Ramaphosa is a constitutional delinquent.”

Then Trevor Manuel’s defamation suit against Malema dropped, which awarded R500 000 to Manuel and ordered Malema to apologise for defamatory comments.

Malema has vowed to appeal – but back to Gordhan.

Gordhan’s way into cabinet was cleared when he took the public protector’s findings on review.

Whether or not taking Mkhwebane on review suspended the remedial action sparked a huge debate on social media, with Advocate Thuli Madonsela saying it did.

“The PP’s findings have been taken on review, which suspends implementation,” Madonsela said.

“So, there is no finding of dishonesty, unethical conduct, corruption or incompetence, which would ordinarily be grounds for dismissal or an impediment to appointment; and discipline does not mean dismiss.”

The Public Protector Twitter account thought otherwise.

“DID YOU KNOW? The Con Court clarified in 2016 that remedial action taken by the PP is binding unless set aside by a court of law. Review applications don’t suspend implementation. Aggrieved parties should obtain a court interdict to suspend implementation pending the review,” the message retweeted by Mkhwebane stated.

It’s left South Africa none the wiser.

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