Johannesburg - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s response “Wait 'til I write a book, I’ll tell it all” to allegations by former President Jacob Zuma that he had relayed a message from Johann Rupert saying he would collapse the rand if Pravin Gordhan was fired could be a strategy to protect his current position, a political analyst believes.
In his testimony before the Zondo Commission, Zuma said that Mbalula had told him that business mogul Johann Rupert had told him to tell the former president of the potential consequences of firing Gordhan.
In his first day of testifying Zuma told the commission that Rupert had told Mbalula, “ ‘Minister Mbalula, if Zuma removes Gordhan, we’ll shut down the economy of the country, we’ll make the rand flat on the ground. You must go and tell him.’
“And indeed Mbalula told me,” Zuma told the commission on a first day of testifying that also included labeling senior ANC figure Ngoako Ramatlhodi a spy.
Political analyst Xolani Dube believes that Mbalula was being cautious with his response and was avoiding getting himself into trouble.
“He (Mbalula) is delaying his demise meaning that he’s trying to protect his current position. He is possibly aware that he might not go beyond this position in which he is serving.
“It is a strategy on his side to say ‘I won’t comment’, but reading between the lines, yes it is true because as we know him he’s a person who can simply deny ever saying that, but for the mere fact that he’s delaying his answer it shows that he agrees with what Msholozi (Zuma) said,” Dube said.
Ralph Mathekga, a political analyst, said that it was difficult to verify some of the claims made on the stand because some people preferred to passing remarks at times and the challenge was that when they are then quizzed on the details they tend to forget.
“They sometimes forget the dates on which those remarks were made and a whole lot of details. So it is very difficult to take some of those remarks at face value, and one thing we have learnt from this commission is that our politicians are very bad when it comes to memory,” Mathekga said.
He added that even the “perceived good politicians” could not even remember some specifics of their testimonies, therefore taking such claims on face value and drawing conclusions was dangerous.