The minister of finance is digging in his heels, national Treasury is battening down the hatches and South Africans are holding their collective breaths.
If President Jacob Zuma wants to get rid of Pravin Gordhan he will have to fire him and take responsibility for the consequences — the minister of finance will not resign.
That is the unequivocal and clear message from 40 Church Square in Pretoria, headquarters of national Treasury, after 48 hours of political drama during which speculation of Gordhan’s removal from Cabinet and a broader reshuffle of the executive went into overdrive.
According to two sources with intimate knowledge of Treasury’s tactics, Gordhan knows Zuma wants to get rid of both him and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. They, along with their senior staff, have, however, decided “not to walk away from this battle” — and that the next move belongs to the president.
“If Zuma wants Gordhan and Jonas to go, he will have to fire them. They will not leave … and there is pressure on them to resign. The ball is in his court,” a source with direct knowledge of discussions at Treasury told Huffington Post South Africa.
Another first-hand source said Gordhan was “steadfast” in his conviction to remain at post and that he “reassured” Treasury staff of their shared mission and responsibilities.
According to HuffPost’s sources, the under-fire Gordhan will dig in his heels, mobilising public and political support by emphasising the rule of law and the imperative of sound and prudent management of the fiscus to the benefit of all South Africans.
The Guptas’ news channel, ANN7, earlier reported that Zuma has decided to fire Gordhan, while Bloomberg cited sources in the South African Communist Party (SACP) saying Zuma has already informed its leadership of the planned Cabinet changes. There has been no communication from the presidency and spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga has not answered any calls.
Discussions on Tuesday afternoon at Treasury apparently centred around the president’s determination to get rid of the minister and deputy minister and the African National Congress’ (ANC) negative reaction to it. The party’s leadership -– it is uncertain who exactly relayed the message -– allegedly told Zuma his choice of Brian Molefe as replacement was unacceptable.
“The ANC, however, does not have a uniform position on who should replace Gordhan if he indeed goes,” one source said.
The source added Gordhan and Jonas’ visit to the High Court was designed to show they are still in charge at Treasury, as a show of strength and unity and that they take ownership of the legal action challenging the Guptas, the controversial family close to Zuma.
Treasury’s statement was also carefully and purposefully crafted, explaining the importance of the overseas visit, giving insight into questions asked by foreign investors and fund managers and explaining the impact of political instability on government’s borrowing abilities.
Gordhan met with 60 representatives of eight fund managers and 28 other investors in London and was asked about economic growth, fiscal management and political instability.
The meeting lasted eight hours.
“Investors expressed concerns about the political environment [...]
Johannesburg – Stern words, standing ovations, and raw emotions dominated the final send-off for ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada on Wednesday.
Friends, family, dignitaries, activists and struggle veterans said their last goodbyes to Kathrada at the Westpark cemetery, Johannesburg. Throngs of mourners gathered at the Houghton mosque early on Wednesday morning before heading to the cemetery for the last rites.
The 87-year-old stalwart’s coffin arrived draped in an ANC flag in a marquee almost filled to capacity.
Mourners sang revolutionary songs and veterans and former leaders took to the podium to bid Kathrada farewell. His family had turned down the offer of a state funeral, opting instead for a simple ceremony in accordance with Muslim rites.
SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande said it was unfortunate that Kathrada left at a time when his wisdom was needed the most in the ANC.
“Let us remember Comrade Kathy for qualities that we need in abundance today – being humble, simple, willing to sacrifice, and love for your people and the oppressed people of the world,” he said.
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said Kathrada was a giant who remained humble to his last day.
“The ANC was not formed by members of the ANC. It was South Africans who tried to fight for the liberation of all South Africans.
“Leaders of our movement must at all times be truthful to themselves and organisations. They must be brave like Kathy, but honest to themselves.”
President Jacob Zuma was absent, in accordance with the family’s wish that he not attend.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe acknowledged Kathrada for his dedication, sacrifice, and commitment.
(Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ahmed Kathrada’s life partner and former cabinet minister Barbara Hogan at the funeral service. (GCIS))
But it was former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe who took centre stage with his eulogy.
Motlanthe said Kathrada never officially received a response from Zuma after he publicly asked him to step down, in an open letter last year.
“Three hundred and fifty four days ago today Comrade Kathrada wrote this letter to which a reply has not been forthcoming. As you are aware, this letter went without any formal reply,” Motlanthe said.
He described Kathrada’s legacy as one of humility, non-racialism, non-sexism, and justice.
“It would be disingenuous to pay tribute to the life of Comrade Ahmed Kathrada and to pretend that he was not deeply disturbed by the current failure of post-apartheid politics,” he said.
Where? Durban Central, Kwazulu Natal
When? 6-8 May 2017
Overnight? See Durban Central accommodation, in Kwazulu Natal
Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.
It showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.
Exhibitor categories include accommodation, tour operators, transport, game lodges, online travel and industry associations.
Outdoor exhibitors include transport, camping and safari companies.
Venue: Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (Durban ICC), South Africa