6 documents Pravin Gordhan used to launch his state capture testimony

20 November 2018 - 07:22 By Ntokozo Miya
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan appeared before the state capture commission.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan appeared before the state capture commission.
Image: Alon Skuy

To provide background for his testimony at the state capture commission on Monday, Pravin Gordhan quoted from six documents.

Making his much-awaited debut at the commission, the public enterprises minister began by going through positions he had held in public office.

Regarding his March 2017 dismissal as finance minister, Gordhan said he "learned from the TV screen" that he had been fired.

Gordhan claimed that former president Jacob Zuma hadn't given him the courtesy of a notification prior to announcing his dismissal on national television.

Gordhan proceeded to note from the following speeches, reports and historic documents as he began his testimony. 

Freedom Charter

He read: "I am committed to contributing to the achievement of a constitutional democracy and the establishment of a democratic government guided by the preamble of the Freedom Charter that 'South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.'"

Resolution of the 2017 ANC Nasrec conference

Gordhan expected to be questioned about where the ANC stood on matters of corruption. He quoted from resolutions made at the ruling party's elective conference in December 2017.

"Noting an increase in corruption, factionalism, dishonesty and other negative practices that seriously threaten the organisation," Gordhan said the ANC had resolved to take tougher and more decisive corrective and disciplinary action.

According to the former finance minister, the party would "demand that every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the integrity committee immediately and faces disciplinary processes."

Gordhan also pointed out that the very state capture commission at which he was testifying had come about as a result of the ANC's resolutions, acting on former public protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendations. 

2009 medium-term budget speech 

To illustrate the position of national treasury at the time when he was finance minister in 2009, Gordhan read from the medium-term budget policy statement of that year.

"We will not tolerate corruption. We will act forcefully against wastage and we will insist on value for money for the billions that we spend."

This was in line with Gordhan's concerns about the inflation of the cost of some goods and services purchased by the state through middlemen. 

2010 Budget speech

"Even when there is absolutely no corruption, we sometimes give contracts to people who cannot implement them," said Gordhan, taking a leaf from his 2010 budget speech.

"We need improved management capability, governance, enforcement and oversight in government and in the business sector."

ANC  organisational reports

Gordhan also relied on two reports compiled by ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

These documents paint a picture of an ANC that fully appreciates the extent to which corruption was denting the reputation and credibility of the party.

One was a diagnostic report in which, according to Gordhan, Mantashe wrote: "Stories of corruption in our government make weekly newspaper headlines."

Gordhan said the report acknowledged that the ANC's apparent inaction at claims of corruption did not sit well with the public. 

He shared an extract which read: "They [the public] expect to see arrests, prosecution and conviction of both the small fries and important individuals."

Gordhan referred to another organisational report which Mantashe presented at the 2017 conference.

It read: "Many in our movement are in denial that state capture is a reality in our country."

"The debate is raging on, with society having strong views on the matter. The ANC therefore cannot afford to be perceived as confused or defensive in the face of this debate."

President Cyril Ramaphosa's January 8 statement

Bringing an end to his first session of testimony, Gordhan read from President Cyril Ramaphosa's statement.

"We shall confront corruption and state capture in all the forms and manifestations that these scourges assume."

Gordhan returns to the stand on Tuesday.

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