‘Gupta pals’ face heat at lek­gotla

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KHAYA KOKO, BALD­WIN ND­ABA AND TE­BOGO MONAMA

MIN­IS­TERS im­pli­cated in the Gupta emails saga could come un­der fire when the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee lek­gotla meets from to­mor­row.

Yes­ter­day, Cosatu said its lead­ers would re­peat their call for the min­is­ters linked to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s friends, the Gup­tas, to be re­moved from their jobs as part of ef­forts to fight state cap­ture.

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa re­cently told the SACP congress that he would not de­fend those im­pli­cated in state cap­ture and that ac­tion had to be taken against them.

Hu­man Set­tle­ments Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu told The Sun­day In­de­pen­dent ear­lier this month that those iden­ti­fied in a trove of emails show­ing how the Gup­tas were in­volved in the run­ning of the state should be fired by the ANC.

Cosatu spokesper­son Sizwe Pamla said the union fed­er­a­tion would re­it­er­ate their call for Gupta-linked min­is­ters to be re­moved from their po­si­tions at the lek­gotla.

“Cosatu’s po­si­tion on most of those min­is­ters has al­ways been that they must step down be­cause of how they were ap­pointed and their in­com­pe­tence.

“The email leaks have un­earthed a wealth of ev­i­dence that can be used against them,” he said.

Pamla’s com­ments come as for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han and his for­mer deputy Mce­bisi Jonas es­ca­lated their fight against state cap­ture on the eve of the lek­gotla.

Gord­han, an MP and NEC mem­ber, yes­ter­day 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 Jonas were ad­dress­ing 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.

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 the Be­trayal Of The Prom­ise: How South Africa Is Be­ing Stolen, penned by aca­demics, that he changed board mem­bers of sev­eral SOEs as pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter to serve the in­ter­est of a sin­gle fam­ily.

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.

Mean­while, heavy lob­by­ing was also set take place on the side­lines of the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing and lek­gotla get­ting un­der way to­day, as the party grap­ples with a de­bil­i­tat­ing suc­ces­sion de­bate.

The Star un­der­stands that the sug­ges­tion that Zuma should be re­placed by a can­di­date other than Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa or his op­po­nent Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma – the so-called third way – was gain­ing trac­tion.

Fears were in­creas­ing that a vic­tory by ei­ther of the pow­er­ful camps could lead to a split in the ANC or cost the party.

It is also un­der­stood that the fac­tions would be in­vest­ing time plot­ting a means to push for a vic­tory for their can­di­dates con­test­ing the party’s Eastern Cape elec­tive con­fer­ence.

The high stakes con­fer­ence, tak­ing place next month, will tilt the bal­ance of forces in favour of Dlamini Zuma or Ramaphosa.

It was also not ex­pected that an­other mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Zuma would be tabled this time around.

PIC­TURE: MATTHEWS BALOYI

BAT­TLING ON: MP and NEC mem­ber Pravin Gord­han and his for­mer deputy Mce­bisi Jonas es­ca­lated their fight against state cap­ture on the eve of the ANC NEC lek­gotla.

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