NEW CYRIL OFFENSIVE
ANC Youth League targets Cyril, Pravin
BARELY a day after the eThekwini branch of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) was forced to apologise to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the national leadership of the structure has again launched a series of attacks against him.
And now Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has joined Gordhan as the target for the league’s ire over black unemployment.
These serious allegations were made by the national youth league leadership, including president Collen Maine, at the St George Hotel in Irene, Tshwane, yesterday.
It was coincidentally the same venue where the ANC’s national executive committee lekgotla was under way to map a way forward for the governing party following its January 8 statement.
The youth league, however, chose to single out Ramaphosa and Gordhan as being responsible for the increasing number of jobless black people in the country.
The allegations came after The Star asked the youth leadership to clarify the call by its eThekwini region, which had called for the sacking for Gordhan.
That call was later retracted, but the national leadership revived it.
ANCYL national spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize, in a clear support for the call to sack Gordhan, said: “We accept the apology of KZN, but agree with the content of what they were saying. Why we agree with eThekwini region is, if you look at SAA at close range, you find service providers who’ve been doing business with SAA since 1973 and they are still being prioritised.”
Mkhize said black-owned companies were not allowed access to business opportunities in SAA and other state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
“Pravin Gordhan, as minister of finance, appointed consultants… to conduct a turnaround strategy at SAA. What did (the aviation consultants) do? It appointed… a company linked to Ramaphosa. SAA was later also told to close some of its lucrative routes such as the London route,” Mkhize said.
The ANCYL also made similar allegations about certain people deployed by the ANC to take control of SOEs, but who chose to use them for their own needs.
Sparks flew when members of the media posed questions to the youth league leadership, asking them to explain whether they were accusing Ramaphosa and Gordhan of being corrupt.
Mkhize, who was the first to lodge an attack on the two, evaded the question but claimed that Gordhan and Ramaphosa “were collapsing SAA to advance private business. SAA has a budget of R24 billion… 98 percent is given to white companies (consultants), 2 percent is given to blacks”.
Adding to the attack, ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza said: “None of us here are saying Pravin Gordhan and the deputy president are corrupt. Two, there’s nothing sinister in anyone in government owning shares; we are saying it must be disclosed… We are worried about bureaucracy of the Treasury.
“But we don’t want articles saying Pravin and Ramaphosa are corrupt. Anyone must be found by the courts of law as corrupt.
“If there are any issues of corruption, they must be found by a court of law. We are wary of leaders who will defend white monopoly capital,” Nzuza said.
Maine waded into the fray, saying the ANCYL was not saying the two were corrupt, but that they were indeed “conflicted”.
The ANCYL added that they would campaign for the return of SAA to the Public Enterprises Ministry.
Reacting to the allegations, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said: “The deputy president no longer has any financial interests in business. In line with the executive code of ethics… he has disposed of all his interests that may have created a conflict of interest upon assumption of his duties as deputy president of SA.”
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe refused to be drawn into the spat, saying it was a silly season of people throwing mud at each other. National Treasury spokesperson Yolisa Tyantsi had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication. @luyolomkentane @BaldwinNdaba See pages 2 and 6