Why is Gordhan being targeted?
This week would by all accounts have been a big week in South African politics and public life. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan appeared before the Zondo commission of inquiry to give evidence of state capture after years of telling South Africans to “connect the dots”. Gordhan set out to painstakingly explain how appointments to the boards of state-owned enterprises worked and how the infiltration of the Hawks and the NPA neutered law enforcement.
After some prodding by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, he singled out former president Jacob Zuma by name as the person who “misled, lied, manipulated and abused” the state in the interests of capture.
Outside the building where the commission is sitting in Parktown, Johannesburg, a different scene was playing out. The EFF and their cousins on the fringe to the left, Black First Land First (BLF), were staging a picket against Gordhan, who they claimed to be corrupt. The EFF also took to Twitter with unsubstantiated claims that Gordhan’s daughter was implicated in tender corruption.
Then, on Wednesday, the party’s sudden change of heart against Gordhan, after they previously backed his efforts to stop state looting under Zuma, all started to make sense. A Daily Maverick investigation implicated Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal with a paper trail of evidence linking the two to stolen VBS money.
Is this why the EFF went on the attack? Is the assault on Gordhan’s character all part of a strategy to discredit him as the champion of the fight against corruption? With the general elections in sight, what is the party’s endgame?
In this week’s Friday Briefing News24 assistant editor for in-depth news Pieter du Toit looks at why Gordhan is being targeted and political analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela explains why the EFF is taking a leaf out of Zuma’s book.
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Alet Janse van Rensburg
News24 Opinions Editor
Gordhan was the leader of the resistance, why the aggro?
Pieter du Toit
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan this week gave the clearest analysis of state capture from inside government yet when he testified at the state capture commission. But he was also attacked from all sides during the last two weeks with state apparatus and opposition parties alike attempting to discredit him. The political environment is changing before our eyes, but what’s behind the attacks on Gordhan?
Who’s the real bastard?
This week Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, used the word to describe Advocate Paul Pretorius SC, evidence leader for the Zondo Commission into state capture, during his diatribe outside the commission’s hearings in Johannesburg. During the same speech, Malema called Minister Pravin Gordhan a “dog”, racist and corrupt; singled out journalists by name who, according to him, belonged to the “Ramaphosa Defence Force” and should be dealt with “decisively”.
EFF attacks on Gordhan inspired by classic Zuma tactics
Like Zuma, the EFF has a strategy of political deflection, obfuscation and denial. When cornered, Zuma blamed everyone but himself. If blaming white monopoly capital was not enough, he would look abroad and blame the “West”. The EFF has its own bogeyman. His name is Pravin Gordhan.