Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema used his response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidency budget vote to take aim at Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and what he called a “cabal” that sought to capture critical state-owned economic agencies.
Addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, much of Malema’s address included the finding of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against Gordhan in relation to the establishment of a unit at the South African Revenue Service while Gordhan was commissioner.
Among his many claims, Malema said Ramaphosa sidelined deputy minister of finance Amos Masondo from the position of Public Investment Corporation chair in favour of former Absa boss, Maria Ramos, who was included in the PIC’s interim board.
“This was similar to (former president Thabo) Mbeki sidelining Peter Mokaba. Why did you sideline Masondo? It is because Masondo is a strong figure who is not afraid to stand up to the likes of Trevor Manuel and Maria Ramos,” said Malema.
Manuel for ‘outsourcing’
Malema referred to Edward Kieswetter’s appointment as SARS commissioner as Ramaphosa outsourcing his responsibility to former finance minister, Trevor Manuel. Manuel has previously won a defamation case against the EFF and the matter is presently before the Supreme Court of Appeal.
“You were supposed to independently appoint a SARS commissioner, but instead you outsourced that responsibility to Trevor Manuel who heads Rothschild in South Africa,” Malema said.
Malema zeroed in on Gordhan, referring to him by his middle name, accusing Ramaphosa of allowing the minister too much power over the ANC’s work in government.
“We are too young, but we have learned a lot from many of you. You (the ANC) are still traumatised by the influence of the cabal. That is why you are intimidated by Jamnadas. But we are not afraid of him. He traumatised and smeared many comrades, but we will stand up to him,” he said, referring to Gordhan.
Malema urged Ramaphosa to spend less effort on protecting Gordhan and more on advancing expropriation of land without compensation and the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank.
“We did not fight with Zuma because he was ugly. We fought with him because he outsourced his power in the governing party to one family and undermined state organisations. We will not allow you to do the same,” he said.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and ANC MP Naledi Pandor rose on a point of order during Malema’s address, saying “various aspersions have been cast in this house without a substantive motion”.
She asked National Assembly Speaker to rule. EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi argued that the fact that Mkhwebane’s report has findings against Gordhan means Malema’s remarks referring to Gordhan did not constitute aspersions.