Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Reuters

Johannesburg - The Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba must be stripped off all the unilateral powers that allow him to appoint board members of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), with immediate effect.

This latest call was made by Cosatu and the SACP ahead of the national strike next week in which workers across the country and in Gauteng will be protesting against state capture.

Cosatu and the SACP were of the view that most of state institutions and their entities were captured by Guptas.

They alleged, that through these illicit deals, billions were channelled into the Guptas’ accounts, “leaving hospitals without medicine and teachers having to use their own money to buy chalk before giving lessons to pupils”.

On Tuesday, Cosatu unions in Gauteng gathered at the Joburg City Hall to declare their individual unions’ preparations for the national strike on September 27 - in which most of them have pronounced a total shutdown in all industries and factories in the province.

Addressing thousands of shop-stewards at the City Hall, Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali urged public servants, particularly teachers, nurses and Nehawu members, to stop the PIC board members from removing Dr Daniel Matjila as chief executive, allegedly in favour of someone with Gupta links.

“We must stop the money being looted by the Guptas. We have allowed it for too long. We must stop the situation in which board members of the PIC are only appointed by the minister.

“Public servants must wake up. We must, as unions, have the right to appoint board members of the PIC. It is our money,” Ntshalintshali said.

He said there was about R1.7trillion belonging to public servants and controlled by the PIC, “but they do not have houses of their own”.

“They do not have houses but their own money is used to build malls. Mall of Africa and Mall of the South were built using state pensions,” Ntshalintshali said.

According to Cosatu, Gauteng has the biggest membership in the country of more than 600 000 registered members.

“If we bring 20% of the members in the march, we will have more than 100000 members. It is possible but it can’t happen through prayers and miracles. We must make it happen. We are in a war.

“The battle against the Guptas is our battle. It is not a battle of the future generation. We must fight and defeat the Guptas.

“If we dare fail, we must then kiss our freedom goodbye,” Ntshalintshali warned.

The SACP in Gauteng was also equally scathing about the alleged plan to remove Matjila as well as the latest suspension of the director-general of Home Affairs Mkuseli Apleni.

SACP Gauteng chairman Joe Mpisi said Apleni was placed on suspension because “he exposed” the fact the Guptas were “illegally in the country”.

SACP and Cosatu leaders and their members urged ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, after the elective conference and during his “impending” presidency, to arrest all those ANC politicians linked to the Guptas.

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