Pravin Gordhan is a serious liability in 'New Dawn'
Opinion / 21 October 2019, 09:34am / SIFISO MAHLANGU
This week South Africa was again startled by the return of load shedding - in one of the hottest weekends of the year.
It can no longer be avoided Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has become a serious liability to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “New Dawn”. In terms of funds lost, public enterprises has performed more disastrously under Gordhan than it did under Lynne Brown.
Not only has the public protector released adverse findings against Gordhan on the illegal hiring of Ivan Pillay, Gordhan is also the top accused on running an intelligence machinery that can be likened to a parallel state security agency, the Sars rogue unit.
Gordhan was also fingered in News24’s exposè as the man placed as chief negotiator and fundraiser for Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign.
As the allegations against Gordhan mount, the state power supplier is crumbling.
As if it wasn’t enough that the Eskom board with the approval of Gordhan appointed its own chairman and supplier Jabu Mabuza as chief executive, last Thursday UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu claimed that Gordhan’s spokesperson was bankrolled by the PIC.
The morass surrounding Gordhan has gotten too much to bear.
Politically, Ramaphosa’s biggest threat in the ANC is not Ace Magashule, it is Pravin Gordhan.
Day by day, ANC branches are becoming increasingly irritable with Gordhan’s rogue behaviour and Ramaphosa’s tolerance of it.
The branches’ view is that Ramaphosa is shielding Gordhan from accountability because of their personal friendship (and) will punish Ramaphosa at the ANC’s next election.
Beyond the ANC, Ramaphosa is quickly losing his “New Dawn” rhetoric among other political parties and the general electorate.
In May ATM requested Parliament to probe the fitness of Gordhan to be an MP in the wake of adverse findings against him by the public protector.
The ATM said it was “learning with shock about the continuing revelations of the enormity of Mr Pravin Gordhan’s transgressions”.
The ATM said that “in the inviolable spirit of the clean governance dictum of Ramaphosa’s government, Gordhan is implored to suspend his participation in all structures of government until his name is cleared”.
He is still in office.
Adding to his bag of controversies, Gordhan is still refusing to be cross-examined by former Sars’ commissioner Tom Moyane. Much to the surprise of the republic, Gordhan declined taking the stand to be cross-examined like every other witness because to him Moyane’s cross-examination “would facilitate state capture”.
Why would Gordhan decline the normal process of a judicial commission of inquiry if he has nothing to hide?
When Matshela Koko was Eskom chief executive, to Gordhan the problem with Eskom was Koko. When the Eskom chief executive was Brian Molefe, to Gordhan the problem with Eskom was Molefe.
When Ben Ngubane was Eskom board chairperson, to Gordhan it was Ngubane who was the problem at Eskom. It is everyone else that is the problem, never himself.
Is it unfathomable that Gordhan steps down and saves us all? President Cyril Ramaphosa must do the right thing and fire Gordhan.
* Sifiso Mahlangu is the group head of politics at Independent Media.