Pravin Gordhan

Durban - The past few days might have been tough for Pravin Gordhan, but the Public Enterprises Minister was upbeat ahead of his testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry on Monday.

“You guys will have some entertainment on Monday and possibly on Tuesday. I will be appearing at the Zondo Commission. So have fun,” he said.

He was speaking at a gala dinner for the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation in uMhlanga, on Friday.

Without naming names, Gordhan said the past few years had threatened to derail the country because of the high levels of corruption.

“Today, it is common practice that if I don’t like somebody I can use that person’s race to attack him. The principle of non-racialism is being undermined.

“Second, we thought that by being in government, we were there to serve 57 million people and that the taxes collected were meant for public use. Building infrastructure and ensuring that poor communities are well serviced, which they are entitled to, was part of the commitment,” said Gordhan.

His statement to the commission, which is chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was leaked to the public, ahead of his testimony. In it, Gordhan confirmed meeting some of the members of the Gupta family at government and public events.

During their testimonies, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor placed the Gupta family at the centre of state capture. The EFF has been putting pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa to axe Gordhan over claims that he had lied about meeting the Guptas.

Gordhan was subpoenaed and also appeared before Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Thursday.

This stemmed from a complaint by Presidency staffer Lebogang Hoveka in November 2016 that Gordhan’s decision to approve former South African Revenue Service (Sars) executive Ivan Pillay’s retirement package, and later allowing him to be re-employed by Sars in 2010, was irregular.

However, Gordhan stood by his version that everything was above board.

He said the country had made huge progress since 1994 but it would have been much bigger had the public purse not been looted.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE