Fight-back by Zuma camp is real, Gordhan tells Zondo

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, who is spearheading the clean-up at state-owned enterprises. Picture: GCIS

‘The misuse and abuse of public powers for suspicious objectives, including intimidation and harassment, also continues,’ he said.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has told the Zondo inquiry into state capture he believes that the push-back by the perpetrators of state capture was real, and he was personally feeling it in the form of an investigation by the Public Protector along the same lines as the trumped-up political charges brought against him in 2016.

Gordhan, who was fired by Zuma as finance minister last year, said he was subpoenaed on October 1 by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to appear before her on a complaint linked to the approval of early retirement for former senior South African Revenue Service executive Ivan Pillay.

“The complaint was lodged on 18 November 2016 by Mr Lebogang Hoveka, who was then a speech writer in the presidency.”

Gordhan appeared to cite the investigation by Mkhwebane as an example of what he termed the ongoing abuse of the state’s powers by people who wanted to undo the work done by the Ramaphosa administration to reverse the harm done to the country by the looting of resources to benefit “a small group of politically-connected individuals”.

“The misuse and abuse of public powers for suspicious objectives, including intimidation and harassment, also continues,” he said.

“I believe that the fight-back is aimed at countering the work done this year by public servants and political office bearers to ‘recapture’ the state and deliver on its constitutional mandate,” he said, according to a leaked copy of his testimony before the commission of inquiry into the defining scandal of the Zuma years.

Gordhan also recounted how in March 2017 then African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe told him that, though the contents of a bogus intelligence report implicating him was rejected by the ruling party’s top six officials, Zuma stated that his relationship with him had broken down.

Mantashe added, Gordhan said, that he would prefer him to resign as finance minister rather than fire him.

Gordhan countered that he intended to continue in his job.

He was dismissed by Zuma in a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle at the end of that month.

Since his appointment by Cyril Ramaphosa, Gordhan has been on a stated mission to rid state-owned enterprises of corrupt influence and recover money lost in irregular deals with the business empire of the Gupta family at the centre of the state capture scandal.

African News Agency (ANA)

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