The chairperson of the ANC’s economic transformation committee Enoch Godongwana has publicly thrown his support behind Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan amid uncertainty over imminent criminal charges being instituted by the Hawks against him.
Speaking to eNCA recently, Godongwana said he believed the priority crime unit’s investigation was only a smokescreen intended to weaken the minister’s fight against corruption at state-owned enterprises.
“Pravin has been trying to investigate what is happening in Eskom‚ which, to everybody, smells.
“Pravin had been trying to deal with what’s happening in SAA‚ which, in everybody’s eyes, is mad,” Godongwana charged.
The ANC veteran also described the dispute between National Treasury and state arms manufacturer Denel over its joint venture with VR Laser Asia – a company linked to the Gupta family – as a “major battle” Gordhan has been waging.
“Pravin is fighting a major battle with people in Denel, who have formed a company in Hong Kong together with the Guptas. That smells,” he said.
Godongwana also said he anticipated the charges against Gordhan, allegedly for establishing a covert intelligence unit at Sars during his tenure as commissioner and contravening anticorruption legislation, could be used to find a new minister to replace him, who will be amiable to the whims of politicians.
He also said he supported calls for a judicial inquiry into the country’s major financial institutions following their decision earlier this year to withdraw their services to the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments. However, the terms of reference of the probe would enable the commission to uncover the truth.
“The banks are sitting here, everybody is screaming at them. They are not allowed by law to disclose the information; they themselves are deprived of the opportunity to tell South Africans why they took the decision they took.”