Mpofu vs Gordhan: ‘Grow up, don’t be cheeky; I’m not one of your Africans’ – ugly words at Zondo

The public waits in anticipation for the next showdown between Advocate Dali Mpofu and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan after the pair traded verbal blows at the Zondo Commission at the start of the week.

Gordhan was instructed to appear and respond to his statement that former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane was central to capturing the treasury for President Jacob Zuma and allies. Representing Moyane was Advocate Mpofu, who showed his clear disdain for Gordhan at the outset.

While the two sparred, Zondo struggled to keep their insults at bay, often asking them to not speak over each other. We take a look at some of the quotes from the cross-examination below.

1. In a meeting at SARS, Gordhan chastised Moyane for making comments about a judge through his spokesperson. The comments were bringing SARS into disrepute with the judiciary and adding tension, Gordhan said. A transcript of the verbal exchange hears Gordhan telling Moyane to ‘grow up and not to be cheeky.’ Moyane says the same and tensions flare between the two with further verbal blows. At the commission, Mpofu repeats the words to Gordhan.

“Well, grow up, Mr Gordhan, don’t be cheeky. How does that feel?” asked Mpofu.
“I take it the way it comes, Mr Mpofu,” said Gordhan before the pair started talking over each other.

2. In response to Gordhan’s remark that he isn’t offended by the ‘grow up’ comments, Mpofu exclaims the comments are belittling.

“Well,” said Mpofu, “I can tell you how it feels for people like me. Let me give you advice: you must never again belittle African people the way you did in this conversation by telling them to grow up…”

3. Gordhan would often give long-winded answers, refusing to say yes or no to Mpofu. This agitated the lawyer who was visibly seething.

“I ask you to please control this witness because if he’s going to give unnecessary verbiage on top of the answer, then I’m going to be forced to interrupt him,” said Mpofu.

4. When asked if he believed Moyane was part of state capture before the Nugent Commission ruled unfavourably on his management at SARS, Gordhan was evasive and kept relying on the Nugent Commission’s ruling.

“If I were you I wouldn’t go to the Nugent Commission,” Mpofu said. 
Gordhan: “You are not me.”

5. Throughout the cross-examination, the two would speak over each other, often forcing Judge Ray Zondo to intervene. In one instance, Gordhan says Mpofu can’t hear properly after being told to let Gordhan finish his answers.

Gordhan: Maybe you’re hard of hearing?
Mpofu: “You cannot say I’m hard of hearing. I’m not your child or one of the Africans you undermine.”

6. The levels of pettiness reached an all-time low as Mpofu kept up with his aggressive line of questioning.

Mpofu: “You said you are not a lawyer, then your job is to answer questions here.”
Gordhan: “My job is also not to take instructions from you”.

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Watch the cross-examination of Pravin Gordhan below.

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