By Gareth van Zyl
First published on BizNews
In an interview aired on BBC HARDtalk earlier in August, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan decried the levels of corruption in South Africa and how “disclosures” concerning one family, namely the Guptas, have revealed how the state has been hijacked. Gordhan now is just an ordinary MP but he appears to be carrying out a ‘struggle’ of a new kind in South Africa in which he’s fighting for the desperate need of clean governance. However, chances are slim that the majority of ANC MPs who voted for Zuma to stay in the recent motion of no-confidence will listen to Gordhan. Will he then resign, leave the ANC and become part of a new breakaway party?
Gordhan started the interview by saying: “The ANC is still absolutely crucial to South Africa’s future. The values, the programs, and the policies of the ANC are extremely relevant for now and possibly, for the next decade or two because those are the policies that can still bind this nation together and hold better prospects for South Africa.
“However, we have to be frank in that we’ve gone through a period of disclosures, which have demonstrated to South Africans (and indeed, the world) that the state machinery and state resources are being used in the wrong kind of way. So, it’s important to distinguish between the ANC as an organisation – its values and programs on the one hand – and individuals who currently, in the view of many, don’t perform their responsibilities in accordance with those values.”
Listen below to a podcast of the 23-minute-long interview.
You can also watch a snippet of the televised BBC interview by clicking here.
You talk about the need to be frank. In the spirit of frankness, the chief whip of the ANC Jackson Mthembu, said that there should be disciplinary process for all those MP’s for the motion of no confidence in Jacob Zuma. Do you agree with him?
“Stephen, he’s actually reported as saying that there should be no witch hunt and that in fact, this is a moment where we need to step back a bit as an organisation and indeed, as South Africa and reflect on what the reasons are for ending up where we are today. In a self-critical way, as many documents of the ANC, formerly presented at the ANC meetings indicate, there are things to reflect on.
“For example, why do we have so much corruption and what do we do about it? What is this grip that one family and its broader syndicate have on the structures of the state and have this remarkable ability to filter out what appears to be billions of rands (of public money and public finances) from state-owned enterprises and other sections of government, into accounts in different parts of the world?
“How do we finally unite the organisation in line with Mr Mandela and his generation’s values?”
When pressed to reveal how he voted in the motion of no confidence, Gordhan said only that he was one of a number of MPs who were determined to be guided by their consciences and who understood that their duty lay with the people of South Africa.
Gordhan was sometimes coy, but he did affirm – “in categorical terms” – that the Guptas offered former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas a bribe of R600-million to step into the position of finance minister, provided Jonas ‘works with’ the influential family.
• Image from the World Economic Forum / Aly Ramji / Mediapix