As more ANC top brass increase the pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation urged the president to ignore the calls for Gordhan’s dismissal by his opponents, who are on a fightback mission.
During a meeting of the ANC national executive committee in Pretoria, former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane led the charge by Zuma supporters, questioning why Gordhan and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni were treated like “super ministers”.
Zwane, who was fingered in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report, demanded Gordhan must account for the crisis at Eskom.
But Kathrada Foundation CEO Neeshan Bolton hit back at Gordhan’s critics, saying the attacks against the ministers were actually directed at Ramaphosa by those involved in state capture, who were fighting back.
He echoed a statement issued by the ANC stalwarts and veterans who defended Gordhan on allegations that he failed to address the Eskom crisis. The stalwarts said he inherited the Eskom crisis and the problem had been caused by looting by those who captured the state.
Bolton said those who wanted Gordhan out were aiming at the president because he was the one who hadm appointed the minister. He said Gordhan was being targeted because he “continued to serve as a bulwark against corruption and looting”.
At least 10 members of the ANC NEC called for Gordhan’s head, accusing him of failing to address the problems at the state-owned enterprise. In a television interview, former president Kgalema Motlanthe added his voice against the calls for Gordhan to be dismissed.
Motlanthe said the calls “missed the point”, as Gordhan was not involved in the day-to-day running of Eskom.
The Kathrada Foundation had called for then president Jacob Zuma to step down in 2016 and 2017.
“If the president succumbs to pressure to remove him from office, he will be giving in to those who don’t want state capture to come to an end and who don’t want to see reform.”