Gordhan warns on SA corruption, patronage
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan last night cautioned against the country being hijacked by a select few. He encouraged citizens to say "enough is enough". In an address to the Ahmed Kathrada heritage day gala dinner, Gordhan painted a bleak picture of the far-reaching consequences of corruption and patronage in the country.He delivered the keynote address to an audience which included former president Kgalema Motlanthe.Gordhan most glaringly took a dig at those who condone corruption under the pretext of transformation."The flip side of this transformation, the rotten product in the gift wrap, is what is called rent-seeking. It means every time I want to do something, I say it is part of transformation. But in the meantime, it means giving contracts to my pals in closets," Gordhan said.story_article_left1"That is what they call transformation and a lot of that is happening in some of the quarters we have to deal with."Gordhan has been at the forefront of opposing alleged state capture by the Gupta family and fighting irregular dealings in the state.The Treasury has pulled the plug on a number of big contracts that were irregularly awarded and has launched a wide-scale investigation into contracts awarded to the Gupta family.But those who are his political nemesis have accused Gordhan and the Treasury of being anti-transformative and promoting the interests of big business owners.Gordhan, however, insists that corruption is often masked as transformation, adding that real transformation suffers as a result."Today we even have a propaganda machine that is unashamedly protecting the corrupt, attacking the enemies of corruption, and consistently co-opting - obviously with a lot of money - other individuals and institutions for narrow purposes. I am sure you understand who represents this machine," he said.Gordhan was not pointed in his address, but painted a broad picture of a country plagued by corruption and urged leaders in society to act before it was too late."There has been the development of a huge patronage network which impedes genuine national development. And by this we mean those who unfairly and improperly take money from the public that is meant for the poor," he said.Gordhan said leaders in society had to wake up."The public is losing trust in us, believing we are not here to work for them, but we are here to work for ourselves," he said.Gordhan concluded his warmly received address by taking a slight jab at the Hawks, who are pushing for his arrest."Everyone is equal before the law ... Hawks or no Hawks," he said.