It’s bad, but SA can bounce back
THESE are grave days for the ruling party, the government and the country. The decision to prosecute Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on flimsy char- ges saw a 4 percent drop in the value of the rand amid fears this politically motivated case threatens to have our credit ratings reduced to junk status. This saga has not only posed a threat to our economic wellbeing but displayed the extent to which South Africa’s interests are being held hostage to the interests of powerful cliques, presumably keen to get – or keep – their hands in the cookie jar. It has also demonstrated the extent of the rifts in the ruling party, with respected veterans like Ahmed Kathrada standing alongside cabinet ministers, past and present, and the likes of ANC treasurer- general Zweli Mkhize and ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu to back Gordhan. Then there has been President Jacob Zuma and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen’s last-ditch bids to delay the release of the report on state capture by out- going Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Meanwhile the student protests, which have paralysed tertiary institutions, turned violent. At government level there is a leadership vacuum as Zuma appears to be more concerned with fighting for political survival and avoiding the reinstatement of fraud and corruption charges than addressing the pressing issues of the day. But there are also positives. There has been widespread support for Gordhan and Madonsela, including from within the ANC and its alliance partners. They are seen as honest, ethical public servants who are trying to stop the looting of the country’s finances and who have the interests of the poor at heart. We have been through bad times before and bounced back. As a country we have shown in the past we can be wise and do what is in our common interest. Signs are there this is already happening.