Pravin Gordhan. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ANDREW HARRER
Pravin Gordhan. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ANDREW HARRER

Over the past few days the media has been dominated by headlines along the lines that Pravin Gordhan “failed to produce evidence on state capture”. Some commentators have even suggested that the commission is a farce and Gordhan should be “reshuffled”. Apparently he accused Tom Moyane of “conspiring with the Hawks every day” but could not produce “evidence” when pressed to do so.

But what did advocate Dali Mpofu actually achieve at the Zondo commission? What are the facts? When Gordhan said Moyane was aiding state capture and “conspiring with the Hawks every day”, surely any right-thinking person knows he didn’t mean that he spends seven days a week doing so?

The accusation does not mean he necessarily has hard documentary or first-hand evidence. Surely, the evidence could have been circumstantial based on his (and, by the way, many South Africans’) observations of what Moyane did and said in the past (including laying charges against Gordhan to prevent him from exposing state capture). That is why even in the legal fraternity there is prima facie evidence.

Only having circumstantial evidence doesn’t mean the accusation is based on “gossip”, as has been suggested by some political commentators and Gordhan detractors.

The likes of the EFF, Mpofu and Moyane have accused Gordhan of being racist, arrogant, jealous, working for the Ruperts and Oppenheimers, and conspiring with and working under the instructions of “white monopoly capital” and the Stellenbosch mafia, yet nobody has demanded that they produce evidence. Their accusations are at best circumstantial based on what they claim to have observed.

They have accused Gordhan of hating black managers and appointing only whites and Indians, yet the evidence shows that he has appointed scores of black African professionals to senior roles in the government and parastatals.

The big question for me is why the media has fallen for this narrative. Where are the so-called independent political thinkers? Even well-respected independent political thinkers such as Khaya Sithole and Lukhona Mnguni seem to have fallen for the EFF’s propaganda.

Gordhan is accused of being arrogant, yet it is clear to everyone that Mpofu’s strategy was to discredit, unsettle and embarrass Gordhan as a witness. Was he expected to simply roll over and allow himself to be bullied? Anyone who has been following Mpofu’s style of engagement knows that he bullies, uses insults, intimidation and cynicisms to unsettle witnesses, and even judges. You only have to look at his Twitter account for “evidence”.

As a black South African who is passionate about my country, I am disappointed with my brothers and sisters, including respected personalities who should know better than to be manipulated by an obvious and long-standing EFF agenda. The EFF (assisted by the “radical economic transformation” faction of the ANC) has used every trick in the book to discredit Gordhan, yet nobody has asked it to produce hard evidence.

Gordhan’s crime is being in the forefront of fighting state capture. Why are his ANC comrades (including President Cyril Ramaphosa himself) hanging him out to dry? If Gwede Mantashe were to expend just half of the energy he spent defending Jacob Zuma during the “nine wasted years” it would make a huge difference.

Gordhan is not an angel. He has got lots to answer for regarding his performance as a minister, and his role in propping up the Zuma administration, especially during his first term. But the same applies to people such as Jackson Mthembu, Mantashe, Lindiwe Sisulu, Blade Nzimande and Ramaphosa himself.

It is time for South Africans, especially the majority black Africans, to stand up and rebut this EFF nonsense. Otherwise they are accomplices to the destruction and looting of our beloved country and the destruction of the future of our children. 

Magilogilo Cele

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