Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday vowed to be in Parliament on April 18 for the scheduled motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
Gordhan confirmed that he would be there to cast his ballot as an ordinary MP in the course of a rousing speech at the Cape Town memorial for anti-apartheid struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada, held in a packed St Georges Cathedral.
“See you on the 18th of April,” said the trusted former minister, who has indicated that he would vote according to conscience on the motion brought by opposition parties.
Gordhan said the spirit of the United Democratic Movement was tangible at the memorial, where angry activists denounced the ANC and Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin called for the Gupta family to be barred from the country.
Gordhan received a standing ovation for the fourth time in eight days in events in honour of Kathrada and repeated his call for activism “to reclaim and become the South Africa we want us to be be”, but warned that it could take decades.
He said the credit rating downgrade to junk states issued by S&P Global on Monday could have been avoided “if we had behaved ourselves”.
Turning to the resignation of director general of finance Lungisa Fuzile on Wednesday, Gordhan paid tribute to his former colleague as well as former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas whose resignation as MP was announced on Thursday.
He said it was “a tough 15 months” and added that honest people did not want to work in a corrupt civil service.
Warning against authoritarianism, he said: “When we reach that point, you know that you’ve handed the state over to a bunch of gangsters.”
Gordhan added the call: “Don’t give up hope. Never give up hope.”
But he pleaded for a sense of urgency and awareness to force a return to governing in the interest of all citizens, saying “me” had become the keyword for those in power where it used to be “us”.
Gordhan again aimed a broadside at Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini for letting the welfare grant crisis grow until the Constitutional Court intervened.
“It is because of the courts that 17 million people can receive their grants in the past week.”
– African News Agency