EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu arrive at the same police station Pravin Gordhan used to open charges against the party leader on Monday, to open his own criminal case against the Public Enterprises minister. Picture: Sunday Times/Alon Skuy
EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu arrive at the same police station Pravin Gordhan used to open charges against the party leader on Monday, to open his own criminal case against the Public Enterprises minister. Picture: Sunday Times/Alon Skuy

EFF leader Julius Malema brandished the constitution as he insisted in 2016 that Jacob Zuma resign as president in the wake of the Constitutional Court’s judgment on Nkandla. Now the erstwhile defender of the constitution is facing charges of breaching the highest law in the land.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has decided to fight back against a sustained EFF campaign to paint him and his family as corrupt.

He has laid complaints with the police against Malema and his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, and has approached the Equality Court.

Protesting outside the Zondo inquiry into state capture last week, Malema called Gordhan "a dog of white monopoly capital", saying: "We must hit the dog until the owner comes out."

The EFF also alleges that his daughter is a director of several companies that have benefited from government contracts. Gordhan told the inquiry that when his daughter worked at Investec’s private equity division, it was the bank, not his daughter, that held the shares of these private businesses.

The ANC, Gordhan’s political home, has been strangely mute in the face of the EFF’s attacks. But at the weekend President Cyril Ramaphosa, who brought Gordhan back into the cabinet, said it was the task of South Africans to defend and support Gordhan.

On Monday Gordhan laid complaints against Malema and Shivambu at Brooklyn police station in Pretoria, saying their comments amounted to crimen injuria, alternatively criminal defamation. He also brought a complaint of incitement to commit violence against the pair.

In his Equality Court complaint, Gordhan asks that Malema and Shivambu pay him R150,000 in damages (which he will donate to a worthy cause), apologise unconditionally and pay costs of the matter.

On Tuesday the EFF laid complaints against Gordhan at the same police station. It has been dredging up allegations against Gordhan that were used by the Zuma faction to fire him as finance minister in 2017. It says it is lodging complaints of money laundering, corruption, racketeering, fraud, perjury and contravention of "the intelligence act" and the Prevention & Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

How will the police and the National Prosecuting Authority deal with this matter, and whose complaint will stand the test?