It’s bad, but SA can bounce back

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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