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Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Gordhan’s stratagem is self-serving, arrogant and dangerous

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By: Independent Media (Sipho Seepe)

Johannesburg – Pravin Gordhan’s stratagem is nauseatingly simple, self-serving and effectively dangerous. Gordhan has artfully projected himself as a good guy on a mission to cleanse the country of corruption.

Accordingly, anyone who dares to cast doubt on him is and must be hastily branded as part of a “fight-back” campaign and a threat to our democracy. And in a propagandist style, he never misses an opportunity to repeat this.

Having cast himself this way, we are all expected to suspend any intellectual judgment. The Lord Master has spoken. What utter arrogance!

Fortunately for Gordhan, he can rely on the mainstream media and throng of carefully selected analysts to magnify his fictitious narrative.

The partisan nature of the media in the Gordhan matter couldn’t have been more glaring than in the past week. They sought to compete against each other as they carried stories and editorials meant to project Gordhan as a victim in the matter involving the now infamous rogue unit.

In trying to malign the Public Protector, the mainstream media has embarked on repeating ad nauseam four false formulations. First, they have falsely sustained the narrative that the public protector is targeting Gordhan. This is manifestly false.

They conveniently and disingenuously fail to mention that since her assumption of office, the current Public Protector has entertained close to fifty thousand complaints. How do three or four investigations amount to targeting a person?

The second formulation is that the public protector is incompetent because of the many repeated judgments against her. Gordhan has since joined the bandwagon.

The truth is that only two adverse judgments have been made against the reports of the public protector.

Third, while the media and the rented crowd have made a song and dance about the fact, Gordhan has taken the Public Protector’s reports on review, the same grouping is silent on the fact that the public protector has likewise appealed against the so-called repeated judgments against her reports.

The hypocrisy does not end there.

The commentators have been eager to point out that one judge found one of her reports to be invalid, unlawful and unconstitutional.

But there is nothing profound about this. All judgments that are overturned fit neatly into this flowery description.

The fourth formulation is to suggest that a court finding against the Public Protector on the matter involving Gordhan will have devastating consequences for the public protector.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The possibility of error of both fact and law is anticipated in our legal system. The legal process is not an exact science.

It is also not uncommon for judges to differ even when they have been subjected to the same evidence and witnesses.

In anticipation of this, the appellate divisions are constituted to have an odd number of arbiters. This helps to bring finality to disputes.

Professor Sipho Seepe,
Political Commentator. FILE PHOTO: Supplied