South Africa

Bheki’s Ordinary People: It’s Zuma vs Gordhan

By Bheki C. Simelane 1 September 2016

It’s hard to imagine that the current turmoil within government is just a puppet show considering that the economy and future of South Africa is at stake. The impasse, which many believe has culminated in a war between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his principal, President Jacob Zuma, is spiralling out of control. Here’s how some South Africans view the current state of the government. By BHEKI C. SIMELANE.

Maurine Mnisi, 55, Soweto

“My greatest concern on the issue is why Treasury is failing to co-operate with the Hawks. The minister should co-operate and clear his name. My other concern is the longstanding turmoil within Treasury. We have seen the same from Nhlanhla Nene, and now Minister Gordhan. What’s this threat to the public purse? As for Zuma I don’t think he ever takes anything seriously. What can we expect from a man who pretended as if something as huge as Nkandla never happened? Zuma takes everything for granted. Someone needs to shut the exit through which our good Finance Ministers are ejected. My view is that Minister Gordhan should co-operate with the Hawks.”                                      

Jeff Sebake, 39, Johannesburg

My personal view is that the war at Treasury is as a result of two factions within the ruling party. These two represent two capitalist groups, which are battling for control of Treasury. The group represents the Oppenheimers, who are responsible for capturing the state from the era of late former President Nelson Mandela. Jacob Zuma represents the Gupta family, allowing a power shift from the Western capitalist block to the Brics block. Pravin Gordhan is the obstacle to the Guptas’ capture of the South African Treasury. Far too much corruption is being practised, hence Gordhan’s victimisation by the Hawks. There is also a centre-stage battle between the Oppenheimers and the Guptas.”

Brenda Gaga, 29, Johannesburg

“If he cared for the economy, President Jacob Zuma would have protected the Finance Minister. The minister should be left alone because he is influencing the markets in our favour. The truth is that the country has benefited from Mr Gordhan’s incumbency. Why pursue a man that makes the markets dance to his tunes? We need Minister Gordhan to stay on longer to help stabilise the Treasury department which hasn’t really been the same since the Van Rooyen era.”

Junaid Levy, 23, Johannesburg

Why do we always have to be subjected to this? The Minister of Finance is a doing a fantastic job. He understands the job. Our country could have done better to get us a better president. President Zuma has not played a presidential and leadership role in the whole saga. While the country’s economic success does not depend solely on Gordhan, he has been doing great work. The president seems to only care about his personal interests and amassing ill-gotten wealth at the expense of poor South Africans. The focus should be on the demolisher of our economy and not the Finance Minister.”

Thabo Ledwaba, 42, Johannesburg

“Pravin Gordhan himself has shares in companies owned by capitalists. This is not a war between Jacob Zuma and Pravin Gordhan, it’s a war against Zuma, by the imperialists in London. Those are the people who want Zuma out because Zuma is tapping into the mainstream economy. It’s the bankers in London. I’m not making imperialists scapegoats but the likes of Rupert are the real problem. I think the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan should also comply with the order to allow the Hawks investigation to proceed. If he is looking for sympathy, that’s not going to work. We cannot keep making Jacob Zuma the scapegoat.”

Mohlatso Mashiloane, 43, Johannesburg

“I think things should be fixed. The war should end and allow the country to move on. The country needs to rediscover itself. That first begins with the government picking the right people to lead the finance portfolio. Finance Minister Gordhan must face the Hawks and clear his name if he has nothing to hide.

Neo Molete, 29, Johannesburg

“Des Van Rooyen should be brought back as our Finance Minister. He will not be involved in any wars because his leadership has not been infiltrated, unlike that of Pravin Gordhan. The outcry when Van Rooyen was appointed was triggered by jealousy and the fact that he was not as very well known. As for Minister Gordhan, if he is not hiding anything from us, he must present himself before the Hawks to clear his name.” DM


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