Gordhan’s leaked statement, vintage blend of victimhood, heroism and self-righteous megalomania

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Clyde Ramalaine

The Commission of the State Capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo will entertain a received 68-page revised-statement from none other than controversial Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan, currently serving as the Minister of Public Enterprises. We learnt that his revised submission was leaked to the media, we not sure by who and from what source. At this stage, the places from which this statement could have been leaked as it is claimed are necessarily limited to that of the minister or the Commission. Then we learnt from the Sunday Independent that Terence Nombembe, lead investigator for the Commission who is a close associate to Gordhan is fingered to have leaked the statement. According to an Independent News Limited’s (Sunday Independent) Report, Nombembe did so in an attempt of mitigating Gordhan’s potential political fallout at the Commission.

There is interestingly very little attention paid to who and where it was leaked from. Clearly, it appears what the statement contained is of more importance than either orchestrated leak or the apparently compromised communications of the commission. Gordhan is arguably the nexus for the claim of a prevalence of state capture as claims. He is comfortably referred to as the man that plausibly gave state capture traction as he sought to pin this media created crime as anchored in the ministry he oversees. Gordhan showed his hand a long time, was also instrumental in the much-made book of Jaques Pauw ‘The President’s Keepers’ which he autographed. It is, therefore, not any lame duck accusation to place Gordhan central to the claims of the said crime.

I have in earlier penned notes bemoaned the fact that Gordhan as public figure vacillates between playing victim, hero and act as a ruthless controller. Prior to reading his revised statement, I wanted him to prove me wrong, disappointed I was to read and see I remain correct when it comes to Gordhan. We have in the course of time been introduced to a very manipulative politician who wants to portray himself as the last bastion, the custodian of ANC and Government protection from a villainous former President, the voice of reason and crafted into a messianic role.

With this, he fooled Archbishop Makgoba and some clergy until Makgoba led a flawed unique prayer for Pravin Gordhan when Makgoba’s Holy Biblical Writ instructs all believers to offer prayers for all in power. Gordhan’s rise in power-politics is essentially centred on self, he managed to use his historical role in the UDF, where he remains accused as a member of an alleged ‘Indian’ led cabal that sought to redirect the liberation struggle with ulterior motives. We heard it again when the second term serving DSG of the ANC Jessie Duarte a few months ago publicly accused Gordhan as one of the historical cabal members who in this season is seeking to denigrate others as a means to build their own political profiles. He used his membership of the SACP, to muscle himself into positions of power.

From his SARS commissioner role to ultimately serving as Finance Minister, Gordhan overplays his hand in arrogating a right to be more important than others even his peers. He, unlike any other cabinet minister, enjoyed claims of him being touted as a replacement for the former president of the ANC and SA, Jacob Zuma.

Reading through the 68 pages we in the stark sense are again explicitly exposed to the mix-masala of a victim, hero and somewhat of a dictator. Jamnadas Gordhan frames this victimhood with the following words, “People, including myself, who are appearing before the Commission continue to be subjected to harassment and racist abuse in frivolous and vexatious litigation, in the media and on social media.” When you hear him in this frame it’s vintage Gordhan, always seeking to be a victim. He in this season extends this victimhood beyond social media platforms to square himself as a victim of what he coined as, “misuse and abuse of public powers for suspicious objectives, including intimidation and harassment also continue.” Always the victim, always the one who wants to do right and evil threatening him.

He then raises the issue of him having been subpoenaed by the Public Protector to appear in regard to an investigation into the approval of the early retirement package offered to Mr Ivan Pillay. It’s this form of glass-castle spinning that Gordhan has grown used to aided by a lusty media that is at his beck and call. Embedded journalists like Ranjeni Munusamy are very useful tools ever-willing to play their part in painting him the innocent victim and therefore, a hero against corruption. Gordhan is not above reproach, he is not an angel, he has things to explain.

What Gordhan does not tell the Commission in his snapshot Memoir is that the Public Protector since February has penned four letters to Gordhan requesting meetings to engage the claims levelled against him on the Pillay case. He neglects to tell the Commission why he ignored these invitations from a Constitutionally endorsed Chapter 9 Institution, who has powers to invite and subpoena. Gordhan conveniently flags the subpoena issued on 2 October as a singular exercise, why would Gordhan be this disingenuous, why would he not tell the commission why he thought it correct to ignore the Public Protectors request?

He is yet to tell the Commission by what powers he as an ordinary citizen and public official in political office deem it his inalienable right to be treated differently. Maybe the reason why Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan can arrogate such inalienable right lays in the crafted and twisted discourse of angels and demons as I long advanced. By the time the Public Protector issued the subpoena on October 2, she has exhausted all means to get him to account, the same he prognosticates he is trying the so-called state capturers to do.

This obnoxious blend of victimhood sees him claiming to be the object of hate, racial insult and abuse. Yet he does not own up to his actions where he in triumphalism proves dictatorial as one who rules any ministry he leads, where he is insensitive to make transformation a non-negotiable. His well-aided media strategy to paint others as demons and himself as an angel, easily categorise those who differ with him as part of a fightback strategy. You hear this when he boldly declares, “I believe the fight back is aimed at countering the work done this year by public servants and political office bearers to ‘recapture’ the state and deliver its constitutional mandate”. (Notice the centrality of the I in his submission)

It is he who has to calm a very irate Mcebisi Jonas down from doing something irresponsible when the latter comes to his PTA house clearly distraught. When some of us asked why the minister and his deputy are so joint as hip and socket it was because we knew that Jonas worshipped the soil that Gordhan walks on because the latter directs him.

Gordhan at some point attempted to use the bias and questionable rating agencies to act in his favour as he fought to maintain the job of Finance Minister. Someone who enjoys being considered an ex-officio president who assumed and considered it his inalienable right to be as super-minister, hence he is referred to as the unofficial prime minister of South Africa.

Needless to say, we have warned before that many of those appearing before the Commission will share their redeployment or removal from office stories as a means to make the case for the media created state capture crime. They will delineate accounts of how they were relieved to ensure what they claim as the agenda of state capture prevails. What these fired ministers never tell us is why they were in the first place the correct choices to be a part of such cabinets. Their logic argues they were fired because they could not be corrupted. Yet they do not tell us if the case for their appointment from the start was questionable. They omit to tell us why they qualified to be part of the cabinet and when they became the defenders of a claimed national interest?

The Commission can therefore easily be reduced to a form of a labour – dispute resolution hearing, of aggrieved individuals who served at the pleasure of a president that equally exercised his prerogative to hire and fire them. As it was to be anticipated, Pravin Gordhan on page engages his removal as a minister.

Gordhan’s revised submission in his quest to portray himself as clean, a victim of rogue attacks and the last bastion to act as national interest spares none, from the Public Protector to names of progressive professionals including Dr Danisa Baloyi, Tshepo Kgadima. His currency and hope to make others look dirty will automatically make him look clean.

To appreciate the arrogance of Gordhan in enlarged personality he claims, one only has to pause and engage the orchestrated complaint to Justice Zondo about the subpoena he was served by the Public Protector.

Gordhan adds that he believes the fightback is aimed at countering the work done by public servants and political office bearers to “re-capture” the state. He has also expressed concern about intimidation harassment and racism against those appearing before the Zondo Commission.

He takes his paltry one-man crusade to be a victim to another level where he argues. “the cost of being honest is high for him personally, as well as for his family and colleagues, but it’s a price paid to ensure South Africa transforms from its apartheid past and its recently captured state.” It is this self-love that blinds the personal for the national. Somehow Gordhan’s logic has made him South Africa, meaning anytime he is no more the SA government will fall. Can we remind Gordhan that Zuma fired him as Finance Minister and the country continued to exist? He is not South Africa’s government but very dispensable and to confuse himself with a South African government is to be intoxicated, to say the least.

We learned that despite Gordhan’s categorical claims of victimhood and directly painting the public protector’s subpoena as nothing but an abuse of power when approached for comment, he now appears to be hiding behind the regulations governing the Zondo commission as denying him to respond.

Again, the abnormal has become normal, the personal and the national is so often confused in our discourse. Gordhan no different to Hogan does an excellent job of transposing their personal interest for a claimed national interest. Meaning he sees himself as acting at all times in the interest of the nation. His personal interest is glaringly conflated with an invented rhetoric of national interest. It builds on the media created demons and angel’s dogma that has come to define the SA discourse.

Gordhan with his statement confirms what his public relations consultant, Ranjeni Munusamy led in her Business Day article. They are both comfortable to violate the principle of non-disclosure who filed the case against him at the PP office, He along with Munusamy felt it their right to finger Luvuyo Hoveka, a speechwriter and public official in the presidency as the one to have solicited the public protector’s interest to have Gordhan account. In his forever obsession of linking dots from the State Capture movie, that he and Mcebisi Jonas featured as main stars, links the dots and names Hoveka as an instrument of Jacob Zuma to deal with him and by extension to destroy the country he so eloquently defends in self-styled 1970’s Zorro movie personality. We can expect that Hoveka will respond to this, flag the inconsistency and outright ill-regard.

Let us not forget Nene fell from more than the SABC chair for meeting Guptas and lying about it, Gordhan equally so, has denied in a Sunday Times interview that he ever met the Guptas. Yet his revised submission confirms someone who has met the Guptas several times (at least four times) in different settings. Logic dictates that if Nene was forced to resign for having met and lied about it why would Gordhan be treated differently?

We may never know why his submission became a revised one, while we may speculate that the “Nene-Moment” before the Commission, with its fallout, cannot be ruled out to have Gordhan rethink on what may occur once he submits a statement that is not credible or lacks veracity in particular on the leprous Gupta family meetings.

We are also informed that Gordhan and the SA caretaker president Ramaphosa’s relationship evidences a fallout. Those who listened carefully to Ramaphosa’s most recent interview after the leak of Gordhan’s submission could sense that. Ramaphosa was now at pains to claim that those who go to the Commission and present information must have their information tested since they may have forgotten certain things, He argued it is not a linear matter because people may fabricate and hence the Commission has to test the veracity of the information. It was a rather strange twist for Ramaphosa to go off like that since Gordhan was claimed to have been instrumental in marketing Ramaphosa to replace Zuma. We remember the Johannesburg address where he along with the DA and opposition canvassed for Ramaphosa to take over immediately with the caveat that rating agencies will back off.

I ask again, will more crafted angels fall as they shouted ‘State Capture’ when they failed to realise this will expose them for who they are, duly captured in their own ways active in destroying the ANC and therefore SA for personal self-interest reasons relayed as a national interest defence.

Since Ramaphosa on Friday met with Gigaba to hear his version of lying under oath on the Fireblade Aviation saga, and Nene fell for lying, with Nzimande and Mkhize still to explain their respective roles in SACP allegations and ANC lies about receiving monies from Vele Investments. Will Gordhan soon face Ramaphosa for his lies of not meeting the Guptas when his revised statement admits such meetings?

Will we soon hear of ministers whose life partners may have received loans from the Guptas or others? I have said before we are in turbulent waters with Ramaphosa’s maiden cabinet falling apart tagged with lies, while they want SA to believe they are angels and the right people to fight corruption.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Political Commentator & Writer Chairperson of TMoSA Foundation