The continued harassment of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), a probe which has nothing to do with the rule of law, is a clear indicator of the determination of some in the ruling party who have no interest in the ANC or the country to use state machinery to settle personal political scores.
A constitutional law expert described charges against Gordhan as “a flimsy concoction without the slightest basis in law”. Pierre de Vos said those urging Gordhan to let the law take its course and to provide a warning statement to the Hawks were “urging the minister to legitimise an egregious abuse of power and to forfeit his constitutional rights”.
The man heading the elite unit hounding Gordhan, Berning Ntlemeza, has questionable moral character. He was once described by a judge as dishonest and lacking integrity and honour. He was also accused by the same judge of making a false statement and lying under oath. Even the ANC’s own alliance partners are not convinced. Yesterday, the SA Communist Party said what most of us have been saying, that charges against Gordhan were designed as a pretext to remove him from office “and weaken Treasury’s struggle against corruption and corporate capture”.
When the news broke that Gordhan was being probed, the Hawks denied it. The fact that the probe was halted until after the local government elections shows Gordhan is a victim of a political plot engineered by those hellbent on looting the Treasury. Endemic corruption is at the heart of everything ailing the ANC.
The party was warned before the polls that it would perform dismally, but was blinded by arrogance and intoxicated with power. With national polls coming in two years’ time, indications are that the ANC is still unwilling to listen to the masses and is determined to continue on its path of self-destruction. At yesterday’s funeral service of Joburg councillor Nonhlanhla Mthembu, 50, in Naturena, south of Johannesburg, several Gauteng leaders lamented the direction the country was taking under the ANC.
Mthembu died shortly after nominations were announced for mayor. It must be noted that it was the ANC leadership in Gauteng that has been a consistent voice of reason which party bosses arrogantly chose to ignore. ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile described the loss of Joburg and Tshwane metros as “self-inflicted”, saying the ANC needed to learn to listen when its people said they were unhappy.
These sentiments were echoed by former Joburg mayor Parks Tau, who said the party needed to confront ineptitude, corruption, the abuse of state agencies “as well as the abuse of the state resources the party had been entrusted with to change the quality of life of the people of South Africa. If we do not stand up, we risk the gains of our revolution, we risk the advancement of the transformation agenda and indeed we risk South Africa itself.”
Mashatile and Tau are some of the many ANC leaders who are not in denial about the state of the ruling party. On Friday, at the funeral service of former sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile, former foreign affairs director-general Sipho Pityana tore into President Jacob Zuma, calling on him to resign so that the ruling party could return to its former glory. According to Pityana, the ANC was in denial of the challenges it faced. Like many other stalwarts who talk sense, Pityana was called names by the likes of the ANC Youth League.
Sadly, the people of South Africa are the ultimate casualties of this fight for the public purse by a ruling party at war with itself.