The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan needs to be held accountable for the Public Protector’s findings against him.
Party leader, Julius Malema, has also challenged the SACP and other civil society groups over their plans to protest in support of democracy and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, saying his party will meet them on the streets.
The party was reacting to the announcement that the SACP and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will be holding a joint rally against corruption and in support of democracy on Sunday.
Earlier on Thursday, the SACP’s Deputy General Secretary, Solly Mapaila strongly defended Gordhan’s efforts to clean up and fight corruption in state-owned entities.
Mapaila spoke at the launch of the Ahmad Kathrada Foundation’s “Hands off our democracy” campaign against State Capture.
Malema says Gordhan does not represent democracy.
“Pravin can’t be democracy. Democracy is Chapter 9 institutions. It’s not an individual. The call to say hands-off democracy in reference to an individual is not going to happen. The office of the Public Protector – not Busisiwe Mkhwebane – that office must be protected. There is nothing against Pravin. We supported Pravin when he was persecuted. There was no Public Protector report at the time. Now there is a Public Protector report he is found to have violated the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.”
The EFF had faced criticism after it tried to prevent Gordhan from addressing parliament last week and accusing him of being a constitutional delinquent.
ANC Veteran Snuki Zikalala was among those who slammed the EFF.
Speaking at a media briefing in parliament on Thursday afternoon, Malema warned the SACP and Gordhan’s supporters that the party is not afraid of anything and is ready to fight.
“Imagine being guided by Snuki Zikalala. He must go and guide those spies in the ANC. We are not listening to any veteran of the ANC. We are not listening to any Freedom Under Law. We are not listening to any amnesty organisation or Kathrada Foundation. We want all of them combined. Bring it on. Let’s go to the streets and if you want a fight you will get it. We are not scared. We are not scared of anything.”
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Earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa defended Gordhan, after what he called an attack by the EFF. Ramaphosa was responding to the debate on Wednesday’s Presidency’s Budget Vote in the National Assembly. Gordhan has been criticised for challenging the Public Protector’s finding that the so-called “rogue unit” was in violation of the constitution. Gordhan allegedly approved the unit when he was SARS Commissioner.
Ramaphosa called on Malema to allow all judicial matters surrounding Gordhan to be finalised. “I have appointed him to a critical and demanding position because I know him to be a person of commitment and integrity. If Minister Gordhan or any other member of this administration has anything to answer for, they must be held to account, and in that regard, I will be saying to him, ‘go and answer before a court of law.’”