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‘As long as Gordhan is at the helm of Public Enterprises, consider SOE’s dead on arrival’ - EFF

The EFF has called for the immediate resignation of Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan. Picture: IOL/FILE

The EFF has called for the immediate resignation of Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan. Picture: IOL/FILE

Published Sep 5, 2023


The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have demanded for the “immediate and unequivocal” resignation of the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.

The party was reacting to news that Transnet had found itself in the similar over-indebted position as Eskom, with it raking up a R130 billion debt pile.

In a statement issued by the EFF on Tuesday, the party said that Gordhan’s approach to a role of immense national significance was a disgrace and “casual, almost leisurely”.

“Minister Gordhan treats his ministerial duties like a part-time recreational bowling game at an old-age home, which is an affront to every South African expecting focused and effective leadership,” it said.

The party added that it was not shocked by the revelation of Transnet's catastrophic R130 billion debt as it was the inevitable outcome of years of incompetent governance and a blatant lack of oversight.

“This isn't just a number; it's a scathing indictment of a leadership that has utterly failed to grasp the strategic importance of transport and logistics in the re-industrialisation of our nation,” the party said.

The EFF has long held that the appointments of Gordhan, Transnet CEO Portia Derby, and the Transnet board were “nothing more than political chess moves orchestrated by Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC faction”, it said.

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) had also been at loggerheads with Gordhan after its president, Collen Malatji accused him of selling State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

The furore came after a letter Gordhan wrote to Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana, approving the sale of distribution business to the newly-formed distribution company, was viewed in some quarters as the privatisation of the power utility.

Gordhan said a statement that his department issued on the restructuring of Eskom reiterated the three subsidiaries would remain owned by the State.

Gordhan found himself at the receiving end of harsh words by ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula as well.

Mbalula had been critical of him on how he was handling his portfolio which oversees entities such as Transnet, SAA, and Denel.

Mbalula warned that the ruling party would not hesitate to remove Gordhan and other ministers if they were not performing to the required standards. The ANC swiftly stated it had no intention to remove Gordhan from his position, even though the challenges facing Eskom and other state-owned entities needed swift action to be resolved.

The EFF said Gordhan’s inaction was not just mere incompetence, but was a betrayal.

“In conclusion, let it be known that as long as Pravin Gordhan helms the Ministry of Public Enterprises, any hope for the revival or survival of our SOEs should be considered dead on arrival,” it said.

However, in a sod-turning event for the Giba Business Estate development in Outer West Durban held recently, Gordhan said he would not be drawn into politics, but would rather focus on his tasks at turning the SOEs around.

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