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In the week that the former president’s son appeared in shackles in the dock on corruption charges, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has warned that there is a strategy to hinder investigations into state capture.

Gordhan said the new strategy, which he dubbed “Bell Pottinger Part 2”, was a well-co-ordinated plan to undermine democratic institutions set up to restore good governance and management as well as investigate the wrongs of the past.

“There is a serious and determined attempt to push back investigations into state capture. Bell Pottinger Part 2 is an underground media strategy to attack those who stood up against wrong things,” Gordhan said.

The Public Enterprises Minister was a guest speaker at the 40th anniversary of the formation of the Pretoria Press Club in Centurion, Pretoria, on Thursday night.

This was the same event at which amaBhungane was given the Newsmaker of the Year award by the Press Club for its role in exposing the Gupta family and its network in allegedly capturing the state during the reign of former president Jacob Zuma.

He said the Gupta leaks had managed to help them to connect the dots and to understand what state capture in the South African context meant.

“We have gathered enough information on state capture and enough evidence to ensure that the perpetrators of state capture are going to wear orange uniforms,” Gordhan said, but warned that the perpetrators were “fighting back”.

Gordhan said the new strategy of the Bell Pottinger 2 agents was to “capture the revolution” and divert the attention of the people from the real issues facing South Africans.

“Madiba wanted to create a new type of society of non-racialism where we acknowledged that in the past colonialism and apartheid had done huge damage. New institutions are aimed at rebuilding South Africa and creating new possibilities for its people.

“In the past two years, we discovered state capture and now the defence of state capture by attacking those who exposed the capture process. Civil society and those who exposed state capture are the very same people coming under attack to undermine the process of rebuilding our society.

“What is happening now is that the colour of our skin is being used as a basis for attacks and to fire cheap political shots to their advantage,” Gordhan said, referring to EFF leader Julius Malema.

Gordhan’s apparent attack on him came after Malema told journalists his troubles and subsequent criminal charges of tax evasion began when he questioned former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to appoint Gordhan as Finance Minister in 2009.

Malema reportedly told the media: “I became corrupt in this country the day I challenged Pravin’s appointment. I said to Zuma: ‘Why do you keep appointing minorities to the economic cluster to the exclusion of black Africans?’

“That day, I was declared an enemy, and stupidly enough, I had my own problems with Sars and that’s where they got me,” the EFF leader said.

Without mentioning names, Gordhan was adamant that the attacks on him and others were aimed at stopping them from pursuing efforts to recover the billions that were flown out of the country and others given to private businesses in the country.

“There is a fightback phenomenon by those who want to mask their role in state capture and continue what they were doing. It did not just happen because businesses came along and made friends.

“Later a friendly chequebook was used to extract money out of the state. There were lawyers, financial advisers, consulting firms, auditing firms involved in the state capture process. Their network is now on the wall - just like posters - for people to begin to know how the network works,” Gordhan said.

Gordhan’s claims come as it was reported that the EFF leader received a R1 million loan from business associate and self-confessed tobacco smuggler Adriano Mazzotti.

It is alleged that Mazzotti had links to former Sars boss Tom Moyane, who has been implicated in state capture. Earlier, he told the audience that the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC’s elective conference in December last year gave them sufficient - but not adequate - powers to manage state institutions and to steer them in the right direction.

He said that the South African Express (SAX) that was allegedly brought to its knees - apparently through the Gupta network - has now found its feet again. Gordhan said the new board appointed four weeks ago, and those who volunteered to assist the airline were now turning its fortunes around.

“I want to urge you and amaBhungane to investigate the kind of role professionals played in state capture,” Gordhan pleaded.

The Saturday Star