Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan along with former senior officials in the SA Revenue Service (SARS) have been asked to present themselves to the Hawks tomorrow (Thursday) at 10am.
Since returning to the Finance Ministry in December, after the firing of Nhlanhla Nene, Gordhan has held the line against individuals linked to President Jacob Zuma, including SAA’s Dudu Myeni, current SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane, and the Gupta family.
The allegations against Gordhan are that when he was SARS Commissioner he set up a “rogue unit” that investigated people for tax and financial fraud outside the limits of the law. Investigating fraud and tax evasion of major corporations and wealthy, powerful people is a basic part of the mandate of SARS. The Hawks were assisted by the Sunday Times in peddling the story that Gordhan and SARS were up to not good – but new Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko has apologised for the paper’s involvement in spreading misinformation.
Now Zuma appears to be moving against Gordhan, only days after announcing that he will personally chair a new state-owned entities (SOE) coordinating committee (Presidential SOE Coordinating Council). In other words Zuma has put himself in charge of overseeing SAA, Eskom and many other parastatals. But the money sits with Treasury, so Gordhan remains an obstacle.
In a statement in March, Equal Education said:
“State capture means every decision-making site must be secured… Every pool of cash in the State is identified. Its coordinates are mapped. People are put in place to unlock its flow… The biggest pool of cash, the Treasury, is mounting its last stand. Funding for every social service hangs in the balance.”
· At a time when we are fighting for scholar transport for the 210 000 learners who walk for more than an hour (in one direction) in KZN;
· At a time when we are fighting for water in over 2000 Eastern Cape schools with no or unreliable water supply;
· At a time when we are fighting to protect Western Cape learners in schools where 9 out of 10 have experienced violence and less than half have proper fences;
· At a time when we are fighting for 8 out of 10 girl learners in Gauteng who do not have regular access to sanitary products at school;
At a time like this – knowing that the Freedom Charter says: “The People Shall Share in the Country’s Wealth” – we cannot be silent when South Africa is treated like a personal ATM machine making transfers to some off-shore accounts alleged to be in Dubai.
This call to defend the Treasury from raiding, to stop the country turning into a personal fiefdom, and to reject the Zuma coup, does not stop the fight against White racism, against inequality, and against a legacy in which most White people remain comfortable and most Black people remain in poverty.
As we said in March:
“Defending the Treasury does not mean defending ANC economic policy that has left ill-gotten White wealth intact, and it does not mean defending racialised inequality. Our record is one of fearlessly contesting ANC economic policy and fighting against white economic supremacy.”
The struggle to steer economic policy towards redistribution and pro-poor development is why EE exists. We will not pause in this mission. But it becomes an impossible task when the funds available end up in vanity projects, private political pockets and corporate subsidies for friends.
The reality is that Zuma does not represent the urgent struggle against poverty, inequality, patriarchy and racism. As EE’s General Secretary Tshepo Motsepe has written, Zuma compounds these problems:
· Under Zuma the colonial and apartheid order in rural South Africa is being re-established;
· Under Zuma social spending and jobs are massively threatened;
· Under Zuma the fighting trade union movement has been hobbled;
· Under Zuma the institutions of democracy have been hollowed; and
· Under Zuma it is impossible to beat corruption.
The partnership between capitalism and the politics of impunity can capture the State, but it hasn’t captured our minds or voices. We can resist! We can defy! We can organise!
Will it be a new R100m helicopter for the Hawks who want to arrest Gordhan for Zuma, or R100m for the students needing fees and textbooks?
At a time when free education is on our agenda, when funds MUST be found to ensure that brilliant young people are not excluded from our institutions of higher learning, we must be fierce in resisting looting. Let us find our voices!