Pravin Gordhan urged university students and academics to join the fight against state capture but his plea was met with jeers. Picture: Linda Mthombeni/GCIS

Johannesburg - Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday urged university students and academics to join the fight against state capture and to prevent the country from going “into a slump”, which could last for as long as 10 years.

Gordhan and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas addressed scores of students and academics on state capture, white monopoly capital and radical economic transformation at the University of Johannesburg.

At the start of the event, Gordhan faced a small group of students who tried to be disruptive in an apparent response to some of the public statements he made against Zuma since the pair’s removal from the cabinet.

Some of the unruly students booed Gordhan, who appeared to remain unfazed.

According to the deposed finance minister, his mission to expose state capture was receiving a rousing welcome and acceptance by those “who cared to listen”.

“They know who is stealing. They know who is responsible for the state capture."

“There is a decline of political morality of the country. It is eroding the foundation of democracy every single day of our lives,” Gordhan said.

He added that he supported SA Council of Churches secretary-general Malusi Mpumlwana’s stance that state capture was “undermining the ethical foundation of our society”.

Mpumlwana made these damning remarks when he and two other civil organisations appeared before Parliament on Tuesday in an enquiry about the effects of state capture on the economy and its people.

The booing of Gordhan literally subsided soon after he told some of the unruly crowd that state capture had led to the decline of international investments in the country, which severely affected the local economy.

“This is how state capture happened. They started (with) state-owned entities (SOEs). Capable people were removed from boards of most of these entities and ‘replaced with the right people’,” Gordhan said.

According to him, the meaning of those colloquially known as the “right people” were those who were prepared to sell their souls and abuse the public purse for the benefit of a few.

UJ student and activist, Kamvelihle Goba posed a few questions to Gordhan, resulting in an eruption of cheers.

"You can't come to South Africa and tell them that their enemy is colourless. Who has the land today? Who controls the GSE today? Who is in charge of large asset management firms today? Who is in charge of all measures of principal capital assets?"

"I am very interested in knowing which faction in the ANC elective conference you are in? Because you not telling these students here the truth, you are giving one side of the story."

The ANCYL in Eastern Cape commended the UJ students.

People on social media were stunned at the students' behavior.

Incumbent Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba was fitted into this category for allegedly giving the Guptas their South African citizenship without carrying out the proper procedures.

He was also accused by one of the authors of "Betrayal Of The Promise: How South Africa Is Being Stolen", a damning report penned by academics, of changing the board members of several SOEs as public enterprises minister to serve the interest of a single family.

Mcebisi Jonas was equally scathing about state capture, saying: “South Africa is facing a defining moment, politically and economically.”

“This is the fifth year that South Africa is experiencing a weak economy and we have now descended into a recession.

“We are increasingly becoming a world capital of corruption and state capture,” Jonas said.

He echoed Gordhan’s sentiments that SOEs were turned into centres of racketeering and money laundering.

He said Eskom alone spent R45 billion on its coal contracts and Transnet spent R300bn to replace their ageing rail infrastructure.

However, he said those billions were not used for their appropriate purpose but to serve a single family interest.

“Those billions spent illegally could have been used to fund health care and education,” Jonas added.

The Star and IOL