‘Gupta pals’ face heat at lekgotla
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.
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.