Balance of forces still in favour of the good guys: Gordhan

31 July 2017 - 20:16 By Penwell Dlamini
Pravin Gordhan
Pravin Gordhan
Image: Gallo Images

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan says South Africans must be active in order to make the changes they want as the balance of forces is still in favour of the good guys.

“The balance is still in favour of the good guys. The balance is still in favour of a state that works. There are many citizens who are very aware of what is going on in this country and what needs to be done.

“We’ve got the experience of citizens in action as part of our historic DNA. We have to go back to those days. There is space for all of us to become activists‚ take part in some form of mass demonstration to indicate our intentions…If you look around the world‚ that is when change really happens‚” Gordhan said.

He was speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

We’ve got the experience of citizens in action as part of our historic DNA. We have to go back to those days.
Pravin Gordhan

He warned the audience about how the corrupt and greedy were starting to use race in order to further their own intentions.

One area‚ mentioned by the entire panel‚ was the procurement space. This area‚ Gordhan said had been revealed in the Gupta leaks as a space for “extraction of public resources”.

He urged young graduates and academics to join the state in order to turn things around and implement the policies that the country has developed.

“One of the biggest challenges that we face in South Africa is our inability to implement good policies. If we get good implementers and honest civil servants‚ even in a dubious environment‚ you can make a good impact.”

Gordhan then warned the nation to be careful in viewing idealism versus context and reality.

“No one‚ even if you have left theory behind you‚ is always right. If we were‚ we would have left government all over the world…Let’s be humble enough to accept that being human means that we are going to make mistakes.”

Wits professor William Gumede‚ one of the panellists‚ said South Africa was facing a crisis.

“It is in the crisis because of a couple of things. The first is that the ANC as the governing party that has been at the centre of the political life of the majority of South Africans is now collapsing on its own. That centre…is now fragmenting.”

He added that as the ANC was fragmenting‚ that created an uncertain future of what the new centre of society would be.

Gumede said one of the biggest failures of South African democracy was its inability to deal with economic inequality.

“Because of that‚ some people say that democracy is not delivering‚” he said.

Gumede warned that if ordinary South Africans don’t wake up and defend democracy‚ the state failure being witnessed could accelerate.