Outgoing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan holds a copy of an intelligence report that President Jacob Zuma used as justification to fire him. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Johannesburg – The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said on Friday that it was exploring legal action and would persuade influential people in authority to support this objective following the axing of outgoing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Outa’s decision to seek legal action comes after the Democratic Alliance (DA) filed an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court seeking an interdict to stop the swearing-in of Cabinet members on Friday evening.
President Jacob Zuma fired Gordhan and replaced him with Malusi Gigaba, the former minister of home affairs, in a dramatic midnight Cabinet reshuffle.
Gordhan’s deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, was also axed and replaced by Sifiso Buthelezi, Zuma’s former adviser when he was still MEC for Economic Development in KwaZulu-Natal between 1994 and 1999.
The dramatic axing of Treasury’s most senior duo has been widely criticised by opposition parties and civic organisations as handing over the keys of the State coffers to Zuma’s circle of friends, the Gupta family and its business empire.
Apart from Gordhan, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who last year called on Zuma to step down, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi were also axed from Cabinet.
Outa expressed “extreme outrage” and disappointment at Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle, saying this action lacked democratic rationale and was not done with the best interests of the country at heart.
Outa chairperson, Wayne Duvenage, said it was clear other interests have dictated Zuma’s actions and that South Africa as a nation will be poorer as a result.
“It is time for Civil Society and the business community to take a stand to use every lawful means possible to bring the necessary pressure to reinstate Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance, and persuade President Zuma to step down,” Duvenage said.
“We cannot let the personal interests of one man hold the people of South Africa to ransom.”
Duvenage also said the reshuffling of Cabinet would come as a major blow to South Africa’s fragile economy as a ratings downgrade is surely imminent.
The rand weakened about four percent to a three-week low on the back of Gordhan’s axing, trading at around R13.57/$, R16.93/£ and R14.51/€ respectively in the morning. The move leaves South Africa on the brink of a much-feared ratings downgrade.
African News Agency