Good will triumph over evil – Gordhan
GET involved in any way you can to stop the rot that is helping to destroy South Africa. That’s the message from axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
It was only through citizens questioning dubious decisions and officials that change could take place, Gordhan, 68, said in Kharwastan, Chatsworth, at the weekend.
He was the keynote speaker at the Kharwastan Civic Association’s 50th anniversary celebrations and sat for a live interview with Lotus FM’s Newsbreak programme.
“I remain hopeful that good will triumph over evil, but it won’t be by us just folding our arms and sitting down; we have to become active citizens,” Gordhan said.
“Get involved in some kind of way. Don’t expect anything to happen without there being public awareness and public pressure because it’s the public pressure that will make people become accountable and not give people the space in those institutions to continue with the kind of naughtiness that they are up to now.”
Gordhan is widely thought to have paid the price of trying to contain and fight government corruption when he was removed as finance minister in March. Among other things, he was accused of knowing about a so-called “rogue spy unit” at Sars, which he had once led as commissioner.
More to come
Hours before Saturday’s event, KPMG, the auditing and advisory firm whose report on the unit apparently had a hand in the downfall of Gordhan, as well as some senior Sars officials, including former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, withdrew the report and recommendations.
Gordhan described the withdrawal and KPMG’s apology to him as a “half-hearted so-called regret” and asked South Africans to brace themselves for what’s to come over the next few days.
“They have to go a long, long way to own up to what actually happened between their senior forensic investigators and the Sars management from 2015,” he said.
“We will talk about that in the next 10 days. There’s a lot more to come out.”
Said Gordhan: “My lawyers are looking at the report, as are the lawyers for other people. Remember that as a result of what KPMG did, in collaboration with the Sars management, if you leave the Gupta story aside, you’ve affected the livelihoods, the jobs, the income security of a number of senior people.
“Some of them have given 30 or 40 years of their life to the liberation Struggle as well. They don’t deserve this in a democracy. And somebody has to pay a price for that.”
Sars commissioner Tom Moyane has since denied the report was faulty, describing KPMG’s actions in withdrawing it as “abhorrent, unethical and unprofessional”.
Sars had been left with no option but to consider following the legal route and instituting legal proceedings against KPMG for reputational damage, he said.
Besides discussing KPMG, Gordhan also took an apparent swipe at the controversial Gupta family, who are close friends of President Jacob Zuma and who have been accused of “capturing” state entities to benefit financially.
Without naming the family, he asked: “Are the resources in the country for bank accounts in Dubai or are they for money to be spent for people in South Africa?”
With recent emails having surfaced detailing the extent of state capture, Gordhan said everybody was beginning to find out what was happening.
“The only question is: is it the people who are exposing and opposing corruption who are going to be threatened, intimidated and pursued by law enforcement agencies or is it the corrupt who are taking your tax money every day and abusing it for the wrong purpose who are going to be pursued and dealt with in a way they should be dealt with in a proper democracy?” he said.
Meanwhile, Gordhan said he would be backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC leader at the party’s elective conference in December.
“I think Mr Ramaphosa has the leadership ability that we require and he has the skills and business know-how and he understands the ANC, which he’s been part of for many years. Those are the qualities we require,” he said.
Speaking of his relationship with the president, Gordhan said that while he had known Zuma since 1974, he was disappointed, not only by how some ANC members had been treated, but also because Zuma did not stop some of the “injustices” they were exposed to.
Gordhan, however, said he remained hopeful for a better South Africa.
Pravin Gordhan is interviewed on Lotus FM’s Newsbreak.