The National Religious Leaders’ Council (NRLC) on Wednesday expressed its support for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his Treasury team. This followed a meeting held between them and the minister earlier in the day.
The religious leaders comprising Reverend Ray McCauley (Christian), Pundit Ashwin Trikamjee (Hindu), Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein (Jewish) and Moulana Ebrahim Bham (Islam) said they had initiated the meeting out of deep concern about events surrounding the minister and the Hawks.
“We are gravely concerned about how he is being treated and the implications this has for our country and the fight against corruption. Also these actions can seriously damage the economy, given the vital role of an effective Treasury,” said the leaders in a statement.
“We agree with the view, expressed by the minister himself, that he is not above the law, but it is our view that there seems to be a sinister drive to humiliate, intimidate, and embarrass the minister.”
“We express our unequivocal support for Minister Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, director-general Lungisa Fuzile and the Treasury staff in general.
“We have confidence in the integrity and ability of the Treasury team and in the way they are doing their work. We would like to strongly warn those who want to raid the institution and destabilise the country not to push the people of South Africa too far. No one, but no one, should treat our country as their personal fiefdom,” said the religious leaders.
The religious leaders said they would seek a meeting with head of the Hawks, Berning Ntlemeza, to express their concern about the way the unit was treating Minister Gordhan and the perceived abuse of the institution to settle political scores. Also, the religious leaders stated they would request a meeting with the ANC leadership to convey their serious concerns on the matter, which impacts the very future of the country.