Ramaphosa: In defence of Gordhan – “a person of commitment and integrity”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa came to the defence of his Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan in Parliament today. Using his response in the debate on the Presidency budget, Ramaphosa rounded on EFF leader Julius Malema, describing his personalised attack on Gordhan as “extraordinary”. Malema and his colleagues have been on Gordhan’s case for some months and are promising those who believe Gordhan’s version “will be shocked soon.”  In a tweet today (see below), EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee also said the Biznews reading of an important judgement was wrong. – Alec Hogg 

By Cyril Ramaphosa:

The extraordinary attack by the Honourable Malema on Minister Gordhan requires a response.

It is a fundamental tenet of our democratic constitutional order that no person – no matter what position they hold – is above the law.

No person is above scrutiny. Every person must answer for their actions. That includes the President, that includes Honourable Gordhan and that includes even Honourable Malema.

By the same measure, every person is equal before the law and must have recourse to the law.

Every person must be able to enforce their rights, whether that means approaching the courts or any other competent authority.

I am in no position to express a view on the findings that the Public Protector has made against Minister Gordhan.

That is a matter that is now before the courts.

But I can express a view on the character of Minister Gordhan and the contribution he has made to the liberation of our country.

I have appointed him to a critical and demanding position in Cabinet because I know him to be a person of commitment and integrity.

He has endured and withstood extreme pressure – both under apartheid and in the democratic era. He has been under pressure to abandon principle and to forsake his responsibility to this nation.

If Minister Gordhan – or any member of this administration – has anything to answer for, they must be held to account, without exception. They must be held before any court and they must go and answer.

But allow that determination to be made by the appropriate judicial institution after due process. Let the law take its course.

That is what our Constitution demands.