Edward Zuma takes aim at Gordhan, Rupert and De Klerk | Fin24
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Edward Zuma takes aim at Gordhan, Rupert and De Klerk

Feb 03 2017 12:28
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is among the “greedy” leaders allegedly using government to "amass wealth", according to President Jacob Zuma's son Edward.

Edward Zuma issued a statement in his personal capacity on Friday to “air” his view on the state of affairs. In the statement, Zuma said the constitution has been “abused and selectively applied” to suit certain groupings within society.

In Zuma’s view, there are corrupt leaders who are prospering at the expense of the country’s poor through their relationships with “white monopoly capital”.

He singled out businessmen Johann Rupert and Sipho Pityana as well as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and former president FW De Klerk.

“They are thieves who are sucking the wealth of this country using their relationships with these leaders who in return have business interests in almost everything that is profit making,” he said.

Zuma added that people are turning a “blind eye” to Gordhan having “shares everywhere”.

Treasury did not immediately respond to Fin24's requests for comment on these allegations by Edward Zuma.

READ: Ramaphosa has no conflict of interest – spokesperson

However, Gordhan - in an answering court affidavit filed in the North Gauteng High Court last week - responded to allegations surrounding his shareholding.

Late last year, Black Land First (BLF) approached the court to try force the minister to adopt the controversial CIEX report, a document that said South Africa's post-1994 government could recoup funds from the likes of Absa regarding a bailout given to Bankorp in the 1980s and 1990s. Absa acquired Bankorp in the early 1990s and the matter has been the subject of two investigations in the 2000s.

Apart from slamming BLF's bid as a "patent political ploy" and "vexatious", Gordhan in his court papers also hit back at allegations by BLF that he has a "conflict of interest". The BLF accused Gordhan of being a "shareholder in the major banks in South Africa".  

“The shares held in my name are part of my savings managed by my bank with an open-ended mandate. The bank decides which shares are bought or sold to optimise my savings. I do not buy nor sell shares. Nor do I direct or influence the choice of shares,” said Gordhan in the court papers.

'Running down SOEs'

Nevertheless, Edward Zuma in his statement made further allegations as he claimed there are "others" selling and privatising state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and deliberately running down these institutions.

“They tried to sell SAA to a company where Gordhan’s relative or daughter has interests, what a coincidence,” he said.

Further, Zuma accused Gordhan and Treasury of withholding spend on government programmes. This echoed reports in the Business Day that the president criticised Treasury for not funding certain projects at the ANC’s recent lekgotla.

READ: If Zuma gets hands on Treasury, it's game over for SA – Pityana

“To me this amounts to sabotage and such lunatics should be fired from service as they only work hard to defend their personal interests in business,” said Zuma.

Zuma reiterated the call for a judicial inquiry into banks to expose the fact that those against the probe have shares in the banks.

He also claimed that the Public Investment Corporation, chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, is a “playground for total control and capture of the country”.

“White fund managers and many more Jewish based entities are running the show without interference from government and with the help of the government officials who have shares in the companies,” said Zuma.

Zuma added that De Klerk “stole money” to buy an island. De Klerk, now a “good governance guru”, should “shut up and enjoy the cash he stole from government”, said Zuma.

Zuma alleged De Klerk’s cabinet facilitated transactions like the Bankorp bailout.

The FW De Klerk Foundation told Fin24 it would respond later on Friday to Zuma's comments.

Political fight 

On Thursday, Save SA convenor Pityana said Treasury is the last frontier for Zuma and his cronies.

“When our National Treasury is overrun it will be game over for South Africa,” he said.

ALSO READ: Axing Gordhan will result in immediate downgrade – economist

Rumours of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle suggest ministers such as Gordhan, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi may be removed from their posts.

In the event that Gordhan is sacked, South Africa would likely be downgraded, said Nomura emerging markets economist Peter Attard Montalto.

Other analysts agree that a fallout could ensue if Gordhan is removed.

"Should Pravin Gordhan be removed from his position, then there will be negative consequences for South Africa," said Daniel Silke, director of the Political Futures Consultancy.

Silke, who spoke to Fin24 by phone, said the statement by Zuma is a deliberate attempt to deligitimise the minister of finance and Treasury.

"The fact that the statement comes from the son of the president is a cause for concern, because of their relationship," said Silke. 

The accusations made by Zuma are likely to further erode confidence in South Africa, both from the foreign and local investment sector, he said. 

"The letter is a very public exclamation of a view held within the ANC and elements of the ANC," he added.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

pravin gordhan  |  edward zuma  |  economy


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