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It will come as no surprise that a faction within the ANC has started pushing for the removal of South Africa’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan while criminal charges hang over his head. After all, the move by the National Prosecuting Authority to set out charges against Gordhan on flimsy grounds seemed a blatant attempt to set the scene for opportunists within the ANC to do just that. First to align itself with President Jacob Zuma and his allies is the ANC Youth League, calling for a new finance minister as soon as possible. The names put forward by the ANCYL as contenders for the job are Brian Molefe, current boss of utility Eskom, and ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize. Both Molefe and Mkhize have President Zuma’s ear, with Mkhize being identified as a possible contender to replace Zuma in time. President Zuma and his associates need friends in influential places as the succession tussle within the ANC gathers momentum. The stench of corruption, state capture and personal enrichment indicate that there is much at stake. – Jackie Cameron
By Tshidi Madia
Johannesburg – The ANC has many capable members capable of taking over Pravin Gordhan’s role as finance minister should President Jacob Zuma sack him, the ANC Youth League said on Wednesday.
“The president must really apply his mind and consider whether it would not be in the best interest of the republic to find someone else to be a minister of finance in the meantime,” ANCYL spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize told News24.
This would allow Gordhan to attend to his legal matters and prevent further damage to the economy.
NPA head Shaun Abrahams announced on Tuesday that Gordhan, former Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula, and former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay would be charged with fraud. This related to an early retirement package and contract extension granted to Pillay and which Gordhan signed off on.
The three had been summoned to appear in court on November 2.
Although Abrahams spoke at length about the so-called Sars “rogue unit”, he did not say if Gordhan would be charged in connection with it. Gordhan had been engaged in a dispute with specialised policing unit the Hawks over the investigation unit, which was set up while he was Sars commissioner between 1999 and 2009, and which allegedly illegally spied on taxpayers.
Will Pravin Gordhan resign, or is this the excuse Zuma has been waiting for to fire him? #NPA
— Barney Mthombothi (@mthombothi) October 11, 2016
Mkhize said Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize were capable of being finance minister.
Molefe had done well at both Transnet and Eskom, and Mkhize as KwaZulu-Natal finance MEC.
The Presidency on Tuesday urged the NPA to conduct the matter involving Gordhan with the “necessary dignity and respect”.
It reaffirmed its support for Gordhan and said the NPA´s decision came at a sensitive time for the country.
Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma must consider removing Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan from Cabinet while he fights his fraud charges, said the ANC Youth League on Tuesday.
“We are hoping the president would be responsible enough to at least allow the minister to attend to these matters, and if it means relieving the minister of his responsibilities so our economy can stabilise then he should apply his mind,” ANCYL spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize told News24.
The league has long called for the minister to co-operate with specialised policing unit the Hawks over the so-called South African Revenue of Service (SARS) rogue unit. The ANCYL has also accused him of portraying himself as Jesus Christ and seeking public sympathy.
“We know he has been mobilising for public sympathy, saying it’s political. If indeed it is a political matter where people have been using the law and courts to fight political matters the courts have been able to deal with those things.”
Head of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams announced on Tuesday that summons had been issued on Gordhan, former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula and former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay for fraud in connection with Pillay’s early retirement in 2010.
Mkhize said the prosecuting authority’s decision to pursue charges against the minister was a step in the right direction.
Dire consequences for economy
“From where we sit the markets and the confidence of investors have been reluctant to invest because of the issues surrounding the minister.”
Based on market cap of R740 billion, SA big four banks yesterday lost R35 billion after NPA fraud charges announced against Gordhan: B. Day
— Sure Kamhunga (@sure_kamhunga) October 12, 2016
Mkhize said if a cloud continues to hang above the minister’s head it could have dire consequences for the country’s economy.
“The president must apply his mind in the interests of our economy, nothing else. Maybe he must allow the minister to attend to the case until it’s concluded. If he is acquitted we hope he reappoints him, either [as minister of] finance or of any other department,” said Mkhize.
Meanwhile the ANC Women’s League has also released a statement on the matter saying it welcomed the news, praising Abrahams for taking the public into his confidence and stating that there was no political interference in the matter.
“The remarks clearly indicate that there is no individual subjected to the manipulation of the law and law enforcement agencies to ulterior political motives,” it said in the statement.
It also hit out at claims that there was political interference saying these were the tactics of those trying to portray the ANC government as one more focused on conspiracies than transforming the economy.
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