In a press conference on Thursday, EFF leader Julius Malema lashed out at what he referred to as “a dangerous regrouping of the neoliberal market-driven agenda, mainly led by Pravin Gordhan”.
Malema took pains to stress that he had not changed his tune on suspended head of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) Tom Moyane. On June 29, The Citizen reported Malema unexpectedly came out to lend his support to the legal complaints raised by Moyane.
However, Malema rubbished suggestions that this was the case. “We will never support Tom Moyane and any of his cronies, we were at the frontline of his fall and the Zupta kleptocrats. In the standing committee on finance, we were the first to call for Tom Moyane to fall,” he said.
Some have alleged Malema’s newfound support for Moyane may have been a result of dodgy links between the suspended Sars boss and alleged tobacco smuggler Adriano Mazzotti, who is also a friend of Malema’s. Mazzotti is widely suspected to be funding the EFF.
Rather than supporting Moyane, Malema said he was simply voicing his opposition to the “neoliberal market-driven agenda” advanced by Minister of Public Enterprises Gordhan and other ANC ministers.
According to the firebrand EFF leader, “this agenda was destabilised by the kleptocracy and parasitic agenda of the Zuptas”, and must once again be fought now that the Guptas’ hold over the government has ended.
“We shall never support any process of reaching punishment without due course,” Malema said.
“The credibility of Sars cannot be restored by using unfair hearings. Instead, it will only be consolidated as a gangster domain feared by all, not because of its high moral ground, but because of Stalinist judicial measures.
“In fact, what we are seeing happening at Sars is happening at other state-owned entities or has already happened, whereby people are arbitrarily removed from positions and boards without any due process,” Malema alleged.
According to the red berets’ commander-in-chief, “Pravin Gordhan appoints people in positions and boards without following any necessary consultation even of the Cabinet, or any robust transparent process”.
“Instead we all just wake up with boards turned from acting into permanent, the same thing that we cried about when it was done by Zuptas,” he continued.
“The removal of people at Eskom and appointment of the new board and the CEO, Phakhamani Hadebe, was done in the same way. This was also the case with the appointment of a new board at Transnet and Denel. They were all arbitrary.
“To celebrate this as being decisive is not only misguided, but shortsighted, when unfair processes are reaching punishment and people are removed without due course.”
It remains to be seen if the controversial leader’s allegations against Gordhan hold weight.
Tom Moyane was suspended with full pay pending an inquiry into his conduct in March, with the processes seeming to contradict Malema’s claims that due course was not followed.
Judge Nugent, who heads the inquiry into Moyane’s conduct, stressed that the inquiry was not a trial and that the fact that it was taking place while a separate disciplinary process against Moyane was pending was not legally problematic.
“Each procedure serves its separate function, and there is no reason why one function should be delayed while the other is performed, albeit that they might in some respects cover the same ground. Talk by counsel for Mr Moyane of ‘double jeopardy’ is misplaced. Mr Moyane is not placed in jeopardy by the commission’s performance of its functions,” Nugent said to allegations brought by Moyane’s advocate, Dali Mpofu, that he was being tried twice for the same crimes.
Some have suggested many of Malema’s latest pronouncements show desperation. The skeptics have suggested he may be going to great lengths to gain political support without the obvious misconduct of Zuma’s administration to oppose.
Whether or not this explains Malema’s animosity towards Gordhan is a matter of speculation at this point.