EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu at a media briefing at the party’s offices in Braamfontein, Joburg, on the VBS bank looting storm in which Shivambu’s brother Brian is allegedly involved. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

This unedited blog post by the EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu claims that a cabal headed by Pravin Gordhan controls state-owned entities and certain sections of the media. 

Immediately after the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) Press Conference, on Tuesday, 16th October 2018, which dispelled the allegations that the EFF and its Deputy President, Floyd Shivambu, received money from the VBS Mutual Bank as part of the reported; “Great Bank Heist”, one of Minister Pravin Gordhan’s protégés sent me a direct text message. 

Amongst other things it said; “with due respect Floyd, this obsession with PG or any individual in the ANC will change the character of the EFF”. My prompt response to this nonsensical and out of context text message was; “I honestly don’t care about that and suggest that you should share that with your friend, Pravin Gordhan”. 

This polemical piece will demonstrate that Pravin Gordhan, current Minister of Public Enterprises, has constituted for himself a parallel state and a source of authority in much the same way he did during the period of the United Democratic Front (UDF). As will be cogently illustrated with empirical evidence in the perspective here, PG, as his protégés refer to him, employs a combination of narcissism, self-righteousness, manipulation and threats to domesticate African comrades and achieve his selfish ends. His overarching and abiding intentions are the protection and empowerment of people primarily of Indian descent - all of this he does under the cover of transformation. Toward this parochial end, he finds a ready ally in the white capitalist establishment.   

As will be argued, Pravin (and his Cabal) employs political blackmail to slander political opponents and then hold his actions and articulations up as a modular example of political virtue and duty. In an article published in 1917, Lenin warns against political blackmail, which he defined as; “the extortion of money under threat of exposing certain facts or invented “stories” which may be disagreeable to the person concerned, or under threat of causing him some other unpleasantness. Political blackmail is the threat of exposing, or the actual exposure, of true, but more often invented, “stories” with the aim of causing an opponent political damage, of slandering him, of depriving him of the possibility of engaging in political activity, or of making it difficult for him”. 

Instructively, Lenin argues that; "if our Party were to consent to the suspension of public activities by its leaders because they had been slandered by the bourgeoisie, the Party would suffer terribly; it would cause harm to the proletariat and make its enemies happy. For the bourgeoisie have many papers; they have even more blackmailing, venal pens (like those of Zaslavsky and Co.), and it would be only too easy for them to "suspend" our Party workers! The bourgeoisie is not interested in examining the case, in getting to the root of the matter. That won’t do, comrades! We must not give in to the clamour of the bourgeois press! We must not please those blackmailing scoundrels, the Milyukovs, Hessens and Zaslavskys. We must rely on the proletarians’ verdict, the verdict of the class-conscious workers in our Party, which numbers 240 000 internationalists. We mustn’t forget that internationalists are persecuted throughout the world by the bourgeoisie allied with the defencists, through lies, slander and blackmail”. 

The perspective offered here is formulated as a polemic because throughout political history and in revolutionary literature, polemics are important instruments to enlighten society. Vladimir Lenin used polemics to expose the theoretical and ideological weaknesses of the opponents of the socialist revolution in Russia, and they have come to constitute a critical and important component of the body of theory that aided the revolutionary and progressive forces. Lack of polemical work in South Africa’s public political discourse has somehow deprived society, of such a critical vehicle for understanding in-depth, how fractions of Capital manipulate the system for self-gain. And this polemical contribution is a gesture towards addressing that deficit in our body politic.



1.  The Cabal and Pravin Gordhan

For the benefit of those who do not know, Pravin was for the longest time a member of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC), which in turn was a member of the UDF in the early to late 1980s, and most of the early 1990s. To exert his authority in the UDF, he led a small grouping inside the UDF, called the Cabal, whose operations included slander of leaders and components of the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM). The report on the Cabal titled; “Report of the Commission on the Cabal” presented to the MDM, amongst other things says; “the Commission was unanimous in our belief that it [the Cabal] manipulates strategy, lacks democratic practices and stifles free and open debate necessary for the growth of the organisation and for the advance of the struggle".

The report further states unambiguously that; “[P]reliminary investigations and enquiries by the ANC and the UDF followed up by the talks with those comrades ridiculed, isolated and discredited by the Cabal, has led to the following persons being identified as former or current members or supporters of the Cabal: Pravin Gordhan, Zac Yacoob, Alf Carrim, Yunus Mohammed, Farouk Meer, Jerry Coovadia, Billy Nair, all members of the NIC. The Transvaal connect of the Cabal was Ismail Momoniat”. 

The Cabal was basically an Indian Cabal that was put in place to slander the character and standing of African comrades in the MDM, and it was led by Pravin Gordhan. The report enlightens us further that; "Black comrades in Natal who suffered at the hands of the Cabal as far back as 1985 were amongst others, Ian Mkhize, Samson Nkosi, Kwenza Mlaba, Nozizwe Madlala, Russel Mapanga and Pius Langa.  At the recent ANC meeting in Paris, Pius was purposefully excluded from closed MDM/ANC meetings due to the influence of Valli and Cachalia, labelling him as not "being part of the MDM". 

The Cabal also slandered and diminished the role of stalwarts in the Transvaal.  Amongst others; Essop Jassat, Ismail Mohammed, Aubrey Mokoena, Curtis Nkondo, Thozamile Gqweta and Sam Kikine were isolated and diminished as leaders in the struggle. We believe that it is important for us all to appreciate and understand that even the ANC does not impose its will on mass democratic organisations. 

Even when the MDM was confronted with a common enemy – the white settler colonial state – Pravin was keen on sowing divisions within MDM structures, undermine and denigrate the role of mostly African leadership in the mass movement. The essence of Pravin’s ideological and political outlook was and remains collaboration with existing capitalist interests and undermining the overall leadership of the movement.

Despite the Cabal's divisive tendencies, a process to realize the transition from apartheid happened without their direct influence. The Movement's leadership in exile and in prison reached all sorts of broad agreements on what should constitute the contours and drivers of negotiations for a new South Africa. One of the distinct features of the Cabal under the leadership of Pravin was domestication of African comrades. And this phenomenon continues to define how he relates to African leadership in the ANC up to this day. 

2.  Transitional Executive Council (TEC)

Realising that they never had a clearly defined leadership role in the transition itself, Pravin Gordhan submitted his name to be part of those who were to be in the Transitional Executive Council (TEC), representing the Indian Congress. The TEC is “a multiparty body in South Africa that was established by law to facilitate the transition to democracy, in the lead-up to the country's first non-racial election in April 1994”. 

Whilst the role of the TEC is not widely written about, it entered a variety of long-term commitments and took decisions which solidified South Africa's neo-liberal path in the post-apartheid era. Some of the agreements entered into by the TEC include; taking a loan from the IMF, which came with conditions on what form of economic policy post-apartheid SA should adopt. These included measures such as deregulation, austerity and the independence of the South Africa Reserve Bank. Yet another bizarre decision of the TEC, was to sign the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs three days before the general elections in 1994. 

Those who continue to deny that the systemic crises of racialized poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa were primarily caused by the rushed, unguided and unmitigated integration into global and capital markets may need closer politico-psychiatric observation. Post-apartheid South Africa, which was emerging out of the 1993 trade balance deficit and massive drought could never have integrated into the global economy in a balanced and job-protective way. South Africa entered the global economy as a horse in a horse-jockey relationship to be ridden by the global capitalist establishment.  

When elections happened, Pravin had wished that he would be part of the Executive under President Mandela but was excluded because, despite his inborn and narcissistic factionalism, there were other prominent and more important comrades of Indian descent such as Mac Maharaj, Kadar Asmal, Yusuf Dadoo, Jay Naidoo who were prioritized. It bears mentioning that he did play a role though in the conceptualisation of South Africa’s Local Government system, which is proven by historical and empirical observation to be the most dysfunctional form of local government. Its only achievement is nothing but reinforces apartheid spatial resource distribution. In their current design, form, content and funding, municipalities are inherently incapable of responding to the developmental demands of their communities including delivery of basic services. 

3.  South African Revenue Services (SARS)

Pravin Gordhan, whose training and the background is pharmacy chose to go to South African Revenue Services (SARS), which is a strategic institution and would later be used for a variety of political purposes and entrenchment of his narcissistic agenda. It is a fact that during his tenure as Commissioner of SARS, businesses that were owned by people of Indian descent benefited the most. Professionals of Indian descent were promoted into higher and strategic positions, and some even left the employ of SARS only to re-emerge as service providers of SARS. 

The case in point is the promotion of Ivan Pillay, a Matric-less fellow from KwaZulu-Natal, who was associated with the Cabal in the 1980s. He was frog jumped above-qualified professionals in SARS to a position of Acting-Commissioner. The Africans who would gain promotion and protection in SARS were only those Pravin could domesticate in the same way pets are domesticated and communicated with through snapping fingers or through one-word instructions.  

As a revenue collector, he bought himself various forms of shares in more than 40 corporations and conglomerates. He has shares in the following companies and benefits from them; British American Tobacco, all the Banks, Richemont, MTN, Pick n Pay, Steinhoff, Growth Point, Naspers, Tiger Brands, Grindrod Bank, and Aspen amongst many others. How a SARS Commissioner or Finance Minister can objectively act in the common interests of all South Africans whilst exposed to so many private interests, escape our imagination. Because capitalist mannerisms and logic are what guide him, he undoubtedly would prioritise private interests over national interests. 

4.    The Rogue Unit

Under his watch, an unconstitutional and unlawful unit was established, as a means to illegally collect intelligence against targeted individuals. A report commissioned by Ivan Pillay as SARS Acting Commissioner as part of its findings says; “[w]hile SARS remains an efficient and effective organisation, the unlawful establishment of a unit that operated ostensibly in a covert manner, has created a climate of intrigue, fear and subterfuge within the organisation”. 

As SARS Commissioner, Pravin presided over an illegal unit which transgressed the bounds of the permissible, interfering with people’s personal and private spaces, in the name of revenue collection. The key individual in the Rogue Unit was a certain Johan Loggerenberg, who currently works with a company that continues with unlawful intelligence services and gets paid by State institutions for such activities.   

The Sunday Times ran articles about the rogue unit and recently withdrew the articles and apologised because Pravin is in power. Ex-Sunday Times Journalist, Piet Rampedi’s 2016 resignation letter from the Sunday Times, published after the Sunday Times retracted the rogue unit reports places this into context. In the letter directed to the Sunday Times Editor, Rampedi says; “[I] hereby tender my resignation from the Sunday Times. The reasons for my resignation are, among other things, what I consider to be unethical conduct by the Sunday Times editors and/or Times Media Group in entering into an underhanded deal with Ivan Pillay, Johann Loggerenberg, representatives of Minister Pravin Gordhan and other former SARS officials that my colleagues and I have been investigating for the past two years for their alleged roles in the setting up and running of the rogue unit".

In the same letter, Rampedi further says; “[P]uzzling to me is what could have changed between the beginning of December 2015 when the TMG and Sunday Times editors were unanimous with the appeal process only to secretly dump it along with myself at the beginning of January 2016, and suddenly find it fit to enter into a deal with Minister Gordhan and other former SARS officials which seeks to discredit me and all the evidence that may point towards them in respect of the alleged rogue unit activities?

Is it because the political the landscape was altered with Minister Gordhan’s reappointment as head of Treasury in Mid-December? It is rather troubling that in the SARS saga the media (and now seemingly also Sunday Times) have been co-opted to tell only one side, which seeks to present former SARS officials implicated in the illegal activities of the rogue unit as victims and everybody else as evil”. 

5.    PG as Finance Minister

In 2009, Pravin was appointed as Finance Minister by former President Jacob Zuma, because they had a trusting and intimate working relationship. The Deputy Minister to Pravin Gordhan was Nhlanhla Nene who also had a trusting and intimate relationship with former President, and this is important to highlight. One of the earlier clashes we had with Gordhan was through a statement issued by the President Julius Malema led ANC Youth League in 2010. In part the statement read as follows; “the African National Congress Youth League is gradually losing confidence in the unelected Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan. The Minister continues to behave as if he is the only person who understands the developmental problems and challenges of South Africa.". The statement went further to say; "[T]he ANC YL will in the next meeting with the leadership of the ANC strongly raise our concerns with the Finance Minister, whom we cannot seem to locate because he is not accessible and not in leadership structures of the ANC. The ANC Youth League will forever be impatient with government bureaucrats who ignore the suffering of young people in South Africa and instead choose to be creative with the mandate of the African National Congress”.

In the ANC, National Executive Committee (NEC) that followed the issuing of this statement, an irate President Jacob Zuma condemned the leadership of the Youth League with the strongest vitriol and demanding that the Youth League should never question the authority and decisions of the Finance Minister. Because we were not easily cowered, we continued to robustly raise concerns about the nature and role of the National Treasury under the leadership of Pravin and Nene.

In the build-up to the ANC 53rd National Conference in Mangaung, one of the central strategists for Zuma’s re-election as President of the ANC was Pravin. In a typical Cabal fashion, he was amongst the voices that called for the extinction of the ANC Youth League, and what he imagined were sources of funds for the ANC Youth League leadership and the anti-Zuma faction. Gordhan was willing to do everything in his power in defence of Jacob Zuma and to guarantee his re-election in Mangaung 2012 elective conference.  

Placing Limpopo Provincial Government under administration was a resolution proposed by and led by Pravin in Cabinet, and the politics of it was to thwart and undermine any formidable opposition to the re-election of Jacob Zuma. Gordhan knew that with the humiliation of being placed under administration due to massive corruption and looting, the ANC leadership under Cassel Mathale would not have the integrity and credibility to successfully convince branches of the ANC countrywide to vote against Jacob Zuma. 

For convenience, Gordhan argued that there was theft of money from the Limpopo Provincial Government and that the stolen money would be used to defeat Jacob Zuma’s re-election as President of the ANC in December 2012. All suppliers and service providers to Limpopo government, including suppliers of essential healthcare necessities were cut off from the payment systems and their businesses collapsed. The only businesses that survived the Limpopo administration are businesses of those who went to kneel before Pravin Gordhan, and the condition of them being retained was that they should partner with business people from Durban. Those who care to know should further investigate which businesses partnered with Durban businesses in the aftermath of the Limpopo government’s administration.  

In all his parliamentary addresses, Gordhan would repeatedly mention Zuma as if the word ‘Zuma’ was a punctuation mark in the budget speeches and Medium-Term Budget Policy Statements (MTBPS). When Gordhan placed Limpopo Provincial Government under administration, he hired a luxury bus for journalists and news reporters and drove with them to Limpopo Province to spectacularly announce the dissolution of Limpopo government due to massive looting, and when done, went back to Gauteng, depriving those slandered an opportunity to respond to allegations that they looted the provincial government.   

Amidst all of this, Pravin knew that Zuma was a lackey of the Gupta criminal syndicate and that the deputy minister in the ministry he led was a regular visitor at the Gupta compound as part of a wider Gupta-led state capture network. When closing what he imagined were sources of the anti-Zuma campaign, Pravin knew that the Gupta criminal syndicate was the biggest funder for Zuma’s re-election campaign in Mangaung. The Gupta criminal syndicate continued to be the main funder of Zuma’s faction even post Mangaung, and Pravin knew of their activities because he was Finance Minister, who constantly received reports from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

Like Nhlanhla Nene, Pravin did not see anything wrong with the criminal syndicate as long as they did not interfere with his control of the National Treasury and three of its most important institutions; SARS, the Reserve Bank and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). It is through these institutions that Pravin gained access to established capitalist interests and thus intimidates opponents into submission and domestication. The manner in which his interests are entrenched in these institutions is such that he cannot imagine life outside of micro-management and control of these institutions. 

When he was not re-appointed as Finance Minister in 2014, Pravin was disorganised and knew from the onset that the Gupta criminal syndicate had played a role in side-lining him from the National Treasury replacing him with his companion and friend Nhlanhla Nene. This was a turning point in his relationship with former President Zuma, whom all of a sudden became a major opponent because he did not appoint him as Finance Minister, but Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA). It was during Pravin’s tenure as Minister of CoGTA that a number of municipalities placed deposits with VBS Mutual Bank, despite COGTA and the National Treasury’s being aware that municipalities can only deposit money and lodge investments with Banks registered in terms of the Banks Act of 1990. VBS Mutual Bank is not established through the Banks Act but through the Mutual Banks Act.  

Despite his removal from the National Treasury, Pravin continued to pay particular attention to SARS and was interested in all developments related to the institution and its entities. Through the same method of using SARS's unlawful intelligence services, the PG group and parallel intelligence were able to blackmail Oupa Magashule, who was SARS Commissioner. The private information gathered around and about Magashule was gathered illegally and yet used as a basis to bring him down. This created a platform for Ivan Pillay to be appointed as acting Commissioner, who amongst others appointed Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane to investigate if there was the much-reported rogue unit or not. Sikhakhane Report confirmed its existence despite the fact that the initial intention was to dispute its existence. 

The biggest fallout came when former President Jacob Zuma appointed Tom Moyane as SARS Commissioner. In the criminal Cabal of Pravin, Zuma graduated himself from being an opponent to an enemy who must be destroyed because he touched the power foundation of Pravin. Tom Moyane re-affirmed the Sikhakhane process and started the process of dismantling the illegal units created under Commissioner Pravin. As Commissioner, Tom Moyane also suspended or expedited the resignations of the protégés of PG, some of whom knowingly accepted bribes from cigarettes companies in Sun City. 

When capitalists reinstated Pravin as Finance Minister following the dramatic firing of Nhlanhla Nene by his friends, the Guptas, his exuberant first stop was SARS Head Office. When he got to the SARS Offices, he walked like an excited child in a candy shop loudly saying, "I am back" and outright dismissed everything the then Commissioner of SARS was doing. He immediately discontinued the long-held tradition of inviting SARS Commissioners to joint press conferences before the MTBPS and Budget Speech. He instructed the SARS Commissioner to reverse all the decisions taken causing a huge irrevocable divide between National Treasury and SARS.  

The massive differences between SARS Commissioner and the National Treasury became public, and then President Zuma was called upon to intervene. Throughout these differences, SARS Commissioner Moyane bombarded the Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF) with a flurry of complaints of spying and surveillance by unknown forces. One of these incidents even led to the killing of Moyane's bodyguard and allegations of poisoning. All of this was brought to the attention of SCOF, and the majority of us were not sympathetic because Moyane was an extension of an equally dangerous and disastrous Zuma and Gupta criminal syndicate, involved in a different kind of institutional mutilation. It was very difficult to sympathise with Moyane because he was on the side of charlatans whose rapacious looting of state resources was callous. 

6.    PG as a Member of Parliament

When he was fired as Finance Minister, Pravin chose to remain in the back benches of Parliament as part of a broader fight back plan against Zuma. He played a significant role in feeding information to civil society and academics who produced guidelines for the committees that were dealing with state capture. When opposition parties tabled a motion of no confidence against Zuma and demanded a secret ballot, Pravin was one of the key lobbyists from the ANC's side who convinced virtually all minorities in the ANC to secretly vote against Zuma. 

In a true Cabal fashion, Pravin pleaded with ANC Members of Parliament (ANC MPs), to vote against the President of his own organisation and country, and not because of principle, but because he was not invited to the dinner table of the Gupta criminal syndicate. As a matter of fact, if Gordhan was not replaced as a Finance Minister in 2014 by Nhlanhla Nene, he would have vociferously defended Jacob Zuma’s reign of terror, maladministration and corruption in government and all state-owned companies like he did when he was a Finance Minister. Zuma's enemy status in the logic of the Cabal came as a result of the exclusion of Pravin from Finance Ministry and appointing a SARS Commissioner he did not approve of. 

It should be mentioned that when he was Finance Minister, Pravin manipulatively used FIC reports to expose the money matrix of the Gupta criminal syndicate through a Hight Court application. The FIC is by law forbidden from using its financial intelligence reports for litigation purposes, but the man used the loopholes to expose the money movements of the Gupta criminal syndicate. Even when he was no longer Finance Minister, Pravin continued and continues to gain access to FIC reports and uses the rogue unit in exile to pursue his opponents and those who question his authority. 

7.    Rogue Unit still exists

The rogue unit still exists and continues to illegally gather intelligence and incriminating information against the opponents of Pravin. The unit exists in the form of a private forensic investigation company called Basileus Consilium Professional Services PTY Ltd (BCPS). In a report they compiled for the Passenger Rail of South Africa (PRASA), BCPS says their functions included inter alia the following; “surveillance of individuals and/or entities identified during the investigation process (individuals and/or entities suspected of having an interest in the transactions under review)”.

BCPS was irregularly appointed by Werkmans Attorneys in the PRASA investigations and went on to illustrate in their report that they possess sophisticated intelligence systems. They even followed identified individuals to their homes and private spaces in the name of investigating irregular expenditure in PRASA. The irony about BCPS and Werkmans investigations of irregular expenditure in PRASA is that they were irregularly appointed to conduct the investigations and were paid R179 million, and the Auditor General made an adverse finding in this regard.

BCPS is owned and controlled by Warren Goldblatt, who regularly meets with Pravin Gordhan and always engage in forensic business dealings with Ivan Pillay and Johan Loggerenberg.  Ivan Pillay and Loggerenberg own a company called Ukhozi Forensics, which works with BCPS on a subcontracted basis, and has illegal intelligence capacity and methods. Almost everywhere Werkmans Attorneys is appointed, they bring along BCPS, and a company called FACTS Consulting PTY Ltd. In some instances, they bring a black Advocate, mostly Senior Counsel to be the figurehead of forensic investigations reports they compiled through illegally acquired information.

Werkmans Attorneys, BCPS and FACTS are currently conducting forensic investigations in TRANSNET and were irregularly appointed under the chairmanship of Popo Molefe, who played a role in their appointment in PRASA. Popo Molefe was during UDF periods of the 1980s domesticated by the Pravin led Cabal and was recently appointed as chairperson of the Board of TRANSNET. Without demonstrating any form of governance understanding and sophistication, Popo Molefe's arrival in TRANSNET came with Werkmans Attorneys, BCPS and FACTS, and many attempts to fire Group Chief Executive Officer: Siyabonga Gama.  

Werkmans Attorneys, BCPS and FACTS are the same companies that compiled and wrote the VBS Mutual Bank Report, issued under the name of Advocate Terry Motau, SC. The strange aspect about the VBS Mutual Bank Report is that it concludes that VBS Bank cannot be resuscitated despite the fact that such was not the mandate of the forensic investigation. The decision on whether the bank should be resuscitated should be recommended by the curator and resolved by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

There is, however, an anomaly in the SARB of power imbalance, wherein Governor of the SARB is far outweighed by the Deputy Governor: Kuben Naidoo, whose appointment into the central bank came as a result of Pravin's deployment. Kuben Naidoo is the Banks Registrar, the Chief Executive Officer of the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), which is amongst others responsible for Bank supervision. In terms of the actual exercise of authority and guidance of the SARB, there evidently has been a power swap, which resulted in the juniorisation of the Governor and elevation of Kuben Naidoo into de facto Governor. 

The matter of VBS Mutual Bank is a subject of many Court challenges and information on what led to the public issuing of the report prior to engaging those implicated will possibly be explained in the course of the judicial review process. There are however contextual reasons why the report was hurriedly issued, and these reasons coincide with why the Nugent Commission of Inquiry in the Governance of SARS was hurriedly issued. In the case of SARS, the hurry to issue a report borders on insanity because Commissions cannot and should not issue conclusive reports that demand action on certain aspects before they finalise their work. 

The reason why the VBS Mutual Bank Report and the SARS Commission Report were hurriedly issued is because the Cabal under the guidance of Pravin fear that they are going to lose control of the National Treasury, and particularly SARS, the FIC and SARB. In the case of VBS Mutual Bank, the report was issued in order to slander those who exposed Nhlanhla Nene's proximity with the Guptas. Pravin knew all along that Nhlanhla Nene had some degree of proximity to the Guptas and used that for purposes of political blackmail. Gordhan used Nhlanhla Nene's dark secrets to run and control the National Treasury and its major decisions. For this, he relied on his old-time friend and Cabal Member Ismail Momoniat, whom we correctly characterised as undermining African leadership in the National Treasury. 

Since the EFF publicly called on Nhlanhla Nene to honourably and truthfully respond to the letter we wrote to him about his association with the Guptas as early as May 2018, the Cabal moved in to run and control the National Treasury on the basis of blackmail. What Nhlanhla Nene does not know is that the information that he had a close relationship with the Guptas came from the Pravin controlled Cabal and its domesticated Africans. The fact that Pravin wrote the terms of reference for the commission of inquiry in governance in SARS, prepared and signed an affidavit which was meant to come from the National Treasury and gave oral submissions are evidence enough that he was in charge. 

As a matter of fact, the current SARS acting Commissioner was imposed against the advice of the President of the Republic. Of course, the Presidency will deny the fact that the President and lame duck Minister Nhlanhla Nene agreed on who should be acting SARS Commissioner, and due to the Cabal’s interception and influence, a different acting Commissioner was appointed. In all fairness, the only proper characterisation of the acting Commissioner is that he is a puppet of the Pravin led Cabal.

The Commission of Inquiry into Governance of SARS was established with the sole purpose of exonerating Pravin from the sins he committed whilst he was SARS Commissioner. These include illegal contracts, including on the e-filing system, illegal tenders and building purchases, and establishment of an illegal intelligence unit. 

The hurried release of the SARS Commission Report, which recommends that Tom Moyane must be dismissed and replaced by the acting SARS Commissioner is an attempt to strong arm the President into appointing a puppet of the Cabal. Their greatest fear is that the new Finance Minister will not take their instructions because he is relatively autonomous and will not be easily domesticated. The only way the Cabal can force him into submission will be through blackmail if he has made financial and other private mistakes in the past.

8.    The Cabal still exists

The fact of the matter is that the Pravin Gordhan Cabal continues to exist, and engages in more or less the same activities that characterised their existence during the UDF years - the 1980s. The inner circle of the Cabal includes; Pravin Gordhan, current Minister of Public Enterprises and the main pillar of the Cabal, Ismail Momoniat, the Deputy Director General in National Treasury responsible for everything. Kuben Naidoo, the Deputy Governor in the South African Reserve Bank was deployed in SARB to look after the Cabal’s interests. Trevor Manuel provides the link between the Cabal and the Capitalist establishment in the private financial services sector. 

Other Members of the Cabal include Johan Loggerenberg, the points man in the SARS Rogue Unit and Adriian Lackay, former SARS spokesperson and current spokesperson of Minister of Public Enterprises. There are African leaders who have been domesticated to the control of the Cabal and some of them lead very important institutions. Some are Ministers or Deputy Ministers of strategic ministries in the current Cabinet. Other leaders find themselves in the service of the Cabal, knowingly or unknowingly.

With the recently reconstituted boards and executives, the Cabal currently controls all State-Owned Companies under the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), in particular, ESKOM. The Board of TRANSNET is composed of deployees of the Cabal, some of whom are former colleagues of Pravin Gordhan at SARS and some were forwarded by ABSA. Their intention in ESKOM is to incapacitate the entity and subsequently present an empirical case for ESKOM’s privatisation. In TRANSNET, the intention is to get rid of Executive Management, particularly GCEO: Siyabonga Gama, so that they can deploy at that level. 

The Cabal’s strategic interest and focus is also the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). When he was fired from SARS, Lackay was deployed to the PIC, and now has been returned to be the spokesperson of Minister of Public Enterprises. The Cabal controls the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), which provides financial intelligence to the Minister of Finance. Whilst the ANC has a deployment committee, chaired by its Deputy President, the Cabal has overridden the deployment committee and made so many strategic deployments without an organisational mandate. The role of a deployment committee is understandably a mechanism of avoiding Cabals and often used to achieve geographic, gender and skills balance. The Cabal does not work in that fashion, they hire and fire without a mandate.

One of the modus operandi of the Cabal is their control of certain sections of the media. A closer critical reading of Tiso Blackstar titles such as; Sunday Times, Business Day, Sowetan, and Financial Mail, will reveal that these platforms are nothing but newsletters of the Pravin Gordhan led Cabal, and are often used to slander opponents and protect their allies. The editorial direction of these newspapers is guided by the Cabal. The Daily Maverick is one of the platforms the Cabal uses to publish the so-called investigative reports, which are nothing, but largely concocted lies gained through illegal means and presented as fact. 

Sunday Times, recently declared the largely factual exposes about the SARS Rogue Unit, the Cator Manor Death Squads and Zimbabwean renditions as fake news and even committed to return the wards won due to these exposes.  The reason they did so is because the Cabal is hard at pains and wants to exonerate itself from the historical sins and maladies. The journalists who conducted the investigations and wrote the stories have come out to emphatically distance themselves from the editor of Sunday Times. 

Ex-Sunday Times reporter Piet Rampedi, who largely wrote on the SARS Rogue Unit, specifically says in a resignation letter he wrote in 2016, that Sunday Times is submitting to the pressure of Ivan Pillay, Johan Loggerenberg and Pravin Gordhan. This is not fiction, it is real developments that define a manipulative Cabal that instructs a respectable Sunday newspaper to withdraw factual reports without consulting the reporters that conducted the investigations and published the reports under their by-lines. 

9.    What is to be done?

The fragrant dominance of the Pravin led Cabal in South Africa is due to the fact that we have an absent President, who is largely indifferent to important matters of the State. The President has left a vacuum, and the Cabal has occupied such a vacuum and will engage in activities which will compromise many capable South Africans. Before the President is forced to act on certain questions due to electoral dynamics in 2019, he must as a matter of urgency re-assert his authority and provide leadership to our country.

In the immediate, this is what should happen;

a)    Arrive at a settlement with the current commissioner of SARS Tom Moyane and appoint an African as SARS Commissioner through an open and transparent process. 
b)   Instruct the Police to shut down all the illegal intelligence services that exist in South Africa in the hands of private companies. 
c)    Instruct the Ministry of Finance to come with a cogent plan to rescue VBS Mutual Bank and keep it away from former shareholders and management.
d)   Expedite and finalise the amendment of the Banks Amendment Bill to allow for the creation of a State-Owned Bank. 
e)   Instruct the Governor of the SARB to reclaim the central bank as preparation towards the Reserve Bank nationalization as we conclude the amendment to the South African Reserve Bank Act through CIC and President Julius Malema private member bill.
f)     Remove Pravin Gordhan from any form of government responsibilities and dismantle the Cabal. 

10. Conclusion

This insightful polemic is an illustration that in the course of the class struggle, there are subjective, opportunistic and narcissist elements that can undermine the form, pace, nature and content of the struggle. South Africa’s developmental burdens are massive and some of the dominant elements in the present conjuncture will not assist the revolution to move forward. The success of South Africa revolution will be gauged by the extent to which black people and Africans, in particular, own and control their economic resources. The ownership of land, banks and all the strategic sectors of the economy should reflect the demographics of South Africa. 

We in the economic emancipation socialist movement are well aware that as leaders of a generation that has set itself the task of total economic emancipation will from time to time be in the receiving end of polemics, judgments, slander and all sorts of character assassinations. Such is historically definitive of all those who seek to fundamentally disrupt economic status quo. We, therefore, should never retreat, nor surrender. We should, at all times provide a thorough scientific diagnosis of what constitutes our immediate and long challenges.  All the information used here is publicly available and verifiable information and as the Cabal always says, just connect the dots. The dots are connected.

* This article was originally posted on the Floyd's Views blog.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.