Whether it’s a secret or open ballot, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan is preparing to vote against President Jacob Zuma in the upcoming motion of no confidence.
Gordhan stressed he would vote with his conscience, whether National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete decided on a secret ballot or not, as she is required in terms of the recent Constitutional Court judgment.
“Let’s wait for the speaker to decide but my stand is clear on this matter,” he said.
Gordhan’s vote against Zuma is likely to accompany those of a number of other ANC MPs, such as former tourism minister Derek Hanekom and ANC MP Makhosi Khoza, who have all called for Zuma to step down.
The no-confidence motion has been scheduled for August 8 in parliament.
“Voting with your conscience” in ANC terms is associated with those who plan to vote against Zuma. All ANC MPs who indicated they would vote according to their conscience have been labelled “suicide bombers” by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Gordhan spoke to The Citizen on the sidelines of his no-holds-barred speech on state capture, white monopoly capital and radical economic transformation at the University of Johannesburg yesterday.
He was speaking alongside his former deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, and Lumkile Mondi, a Wits University economics lecturer.
Gordhan delivered a scathing attack on the Zuma and Gupta families, saying it was time for everyone to take a stand against state capture.
He said if nothing was done about it, state capture would set the country back many years.
“If we keep quiet, we will slump into disaster. State capture is a no-go area, that simple. It is nothing else but stealing. South Africa is our country … no one must be allowed to steal it,” he said.
Gordhan said the money stolen through state capture, between R5 billion and R10 billion, could have been used to make a difference in education, health and other services.
“This stealing impacts on every citizen. They are depriving the youth of this country of the jobs they deserve,” Gordhan said.
As a result of state capture, no economy would grow and no employment would be created while investor confidence would drop, he said, adding that those who stole money from state-owned enterprises did so without fear of prosecution.
“They give billions of rands of state money to a select few with a smile instead of having a worried look on their faces,” he said.
The former minister praised Jonas for rejecting a bribe of R600 million he was allegedly offered by the Guptas if he had accepted the finance minister position according to their terms.
“He told them to keep it because he was not prepared to sell our country’s sovereignty,” Gordhan said.
“There is absolutely no doubt that the country’s economy needs to be transformed, no doubt that our economy needs to be restructured in a way that it benefits everybody. It must be an economy that is benefiting the masses, not just a clique,” Gordhan said.
He took a swipe at Bell Pottinger, a British PR firm hired by the Guptas to defend them against accusations of state capture, who spread anti-white propaganda in the country using certain individuals, some ANC members and political commentators.
Gordhan said the best way of fighting state capture was to expose it and he praised South African academics for doing just that. – firstname.lastname@example.org