APOLOGY: In an earlier published version of this article, the journalist appeared to be speculating that Minister Ebrahim Patel had “hinted” that Finance Minister Gordhan may be a sellout. However, substance appears to be lacking for such an assertion and the minister’s office has assured The Citizen that no such intimation was made by Minister Patel on the day.
This was nothing more than speculation, not reportage, and the copy has been excised.
The Citizen apologises unreservedly to Minister Patel, and regrets the error. The line in question has been excised, though the rest of the article remains unchanged.
– Online editor
National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) president Andrew Chirwa on Tuesday called Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan a “sellout” who sounds like his addressing MPs in Parliament instead of speaking directly to workers.
Chirwa made the remarks when he was introducing Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel as the keynote speaker during the second day of the union’s 10th annual congress in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan may have been in the struggle for 45 years, but it is possible to have been selling out for 45 years,” he said.
The Numsa leader was apparently echoing similar sentiments shared by some delegates attending the conference who had complained that Numsa’s outspoken general secretary, Irvin Jim, was protecting some Cabinet ministers.
“[At least Patel] still sounded like a trade unionist,” Chirwa said, referring to Gordhan’s speech on Monday.
Gordhan addressed the congress on Monday, the union’s first national conference since its expulsion from the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) last year. Jim sang his praises when he introduced the minister as speaker.
He praised Gordhan for his courage despite facing fraud charges that were widely attributed to President Jacob Zuma and his alleged attempts to “take over” the country’s fiscus.
Patel called for unity between government and the country’s trade unions to grow the economy, saying it was painful to witness Numsa’s expulsion from Cosatu.
“If we can forge a deeper partnership between government manufacturers and the trade union movements, even more can be achieved,” he said.