Vendetta or political contest? Five times Malema took aim at Gordhan in 2019

30 December 2019 - 17:09 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
Julius Malema has blamed Pravin Gordhan for everything wrong in the current administration.
Julius Malema has blamed Pravin Gordhan for everything wrong in the current administration.
Image: Alon Skuy

Probably the most epic political clash in 2019, EFF leader Julius Malema made public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan his personal project.

There was barely a public address or EFF press conference where Malema did not mention Gordhan, blaming him for everything wrong in the current administration.

The beef between Malema and Gordhan is not new. It gained momentum in 2018 when the duo opened criminal cases against each other but reached boiling point in 2019, albeit with only the firebrand EFF leader constantly on the offensive.

Here are five moments Malema took aim at Gordhan this year:

'The downfall of Cyril Ramaphosa will be Pravin Gordhan'

Just last month, as new group CEO for Eskom Andre de Ruyter was appointed, Malema, addressing a press conference, claimed that it was Gordhan who was spearheading the purging of black professionals at state-owned companies.

Malema suggested this was going to lead to the downfall of President Ramaphosa whom he claimed was warned not to bring back Gordhan as a minister in the sixth administration.

“The downfall of Cyril [Ramaphosa] will be Pravin Gordhan who is the prime minister of this country with a clear purpose to remove black managers [from SOEs] and replace them with minorities and the mandate of the minorities is to privatise all state-owned companies,” said Malema.

'I do not think it would be advisable to allow Mr Gordhan to speak here' 

In June, a month after the general elections, Malema objected to Gordhan speaking in parliament, citing a public protector report against the minister which is now the subject of a court review.

After deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli shot down Malema's objection, he and the EFF walked out.

But that was not before Malema made his views known.

“I do not think it would be advisable to allow Mr Gordhan to speak here because the public protector has made findings against Mr Gordhan,” he said.

“I am saying you cannot allow a constitutional delinquent to come and speak here.”

'Pravin is not above the law'

Malema's quest to bring down Gordhan was at its height after the release of the public protector report which fingered Gordhan for the formation of an “illegal” intelligence-gathering unit.

“Cyril Ramaphosa must not be a coward, he must act against Pravin because Pravin is not above the law,” said Malema to supporters outside the Pretoria high court, during Gordhan's successful application to interdict the public protector's remedial action against him.

“Pravin was never elected by anyone and therefore he cannot claim to be the authority that fights corruption in SA. He says 'the EFF is fighting me because I am fighting corruption in SOEs' but we are not involved in any corruption of any SOE.”

'Cyril does not want to fire Pravin because white people say so'

After Malema's failed bid to pin down Gordhan with the public protector's report, the EFF leader came up with all sorts of theories as to why Ramaphosa refused to succumb to EFF pressure to sack the minister.

Addressing a press conference in July, he claimed Gordhan survived because he was liked by white people and because he was central in the CR17 funding mobilisation.

Said Malema: “Cyril does not want to fire Pravin because white people say 'do not fire Pravin'.

“There are strong allegations that Pravin was at the centre of raising those funds (CR17) that is why it will be difficult for the president to act on him.”

'Batohi too close to Pravin Gordhan'

Malema started his 2019 'blame Gordhan for everything' conspiracy when in February he voiced his distrust of then newly appointed head of the NPA Shamila Batohi because she was “too close to Pravin Gordhan”.

Malema went on: “To be honest I don’t trust the new head of the NPA because she is too close to Pravin Gordhan”.


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