By Zanele Lwana and Lindsay Maasdorp
Black First Land First (BLF) is convinced that the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan is both compromised and conflicted to the extent that he is reduced to an agent of white monopoly capital. This week Black Opinion revealed that Gordhan has shares in multiple businesses. This would be no problem if these companies that pay the Minister of Finance a dividend were not the same group of businesses that forced the ANC to hire Gordhan as Minister of Finance. Shareholding is not a problem in itself in a capitalist economy but it becomes a conflict of interest when companies where a minister has shares demands that their fellow shareholder becomes a Minister in the area these companies have direct interests in.
The current crisis and factional battles over state owned enterprises (SOEs) are part of the ongoing “state capture” by white capital. Black First Land First (BLF) has opened a criminal case against a number of white capitalists including Johann Rupert for contravening section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities, 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004). This case is essentially one of corruption and is currently being investigated by the HAWKS. BLF has also lodged a complaint with the Public Protector (PP) of “state capture” by the same white capitalists including Johann Rupert. BLF has moreover presented both the HAWKS and the PP with evidence that shows that these white capitalists including Johann Rupert have illegally interfered with the duties of the President to appoint ministers in terms of the Constitution which they claim to uphold. The shocking fact is that Pravin has shares in the following companies which are accused of having conducted “state capture”:
1. Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos;
2. Goldman Sachs’ South Africa head Colin Coleman;
3. Investec Bank’s global CEO, Stephen Koseff;
4. Imperial Holdings’ CEO, Mark Lamberti;
5. Sanlam CEO Ian Kirk;
6. Business Leadership South Africa chairperson Bobby Godsell;
7. Toyota Europe CEO Johan van Zyl and
8. First Rand CEO Johan Burger
Furthmore, Gordhan has shares in Remgro, a company owned by Johann Rupert who is one of the businessmen being investigated by the HAWKS for state capture in relation to the hiring of the same Gordhan as Minister of Finance. Moreover, Rupert is accused of being one of the white business people who stole R26 billion from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). How is the minister going to investigate a company where he has shares? Remgro is a direct beneficiary of the theft from SARB which is under the control of Gordhan. BLF has written letters to the Treasury and to date we have received no response. This is because Treasury has been turned into an arm of white capital to protect white corruption and to loot state assets. Gordhan is in business with Johann Rupert who in turn is accused of stealing from the ministery under Gordhan. This is how the mafia operates. Gordhan shall never persue white capital.
It also came to the attention of BLF that Pravin Gordhan is benefiting directly through shareholding in British American Tobbaco (BAT). This company is involved in massive criminality. BAT is accused of using SARS and the South African Police to engage in a shocking list of criminal activities against citizens and its perceived competitors. This is over and above making profits from poisoning the lungs of smokers. As if this is not enough BAT has been involved in international criminal activities for profits which goes back to Gordhan as a dividend. As to why Gordhan has maintained a relationship with a rogue business is a mystery to many people who have a sense of justice.
A local publication has reported that, “(t)he allegations of BAT illicit behaviour in South Africa follow claims of bribery that have been passed on to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office by Paul Hopkins, a BAT whistle-blower who worked in Africa for BAT for 13 years. Hopkins, who was responsible for halting the illicit tobacco trade in east and central Africa, admitted he had facilitated payments on BAT’s account to cripple anti-smoking laws in several east African countries, had made payments to officials to undermine efforts by the World Health Organisation to reduce deaths from smoking, ran a corporate spying operation, and had conducted “black ops” to put rivals out of business. In 2014 BAT declared an operating income of £4,546-billion”. This is a company that Pravin Gordhan has shares in and from which he gets paid a dividend. This alone should be reason enough for Gordhan to leave office.
And then there is the SARS rogue unit saga. The media is playing down and misleading the public about the huge body of evidence against Gordhan. Four investigations have found that there was an illegally established spying unit or the so called “rogue unit” at SARS. The media has, instead of informing the public accordingly, actually chosen to attack the investigations. First was the investigation by Advocate Kanyane, followed by an investigation by Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, then another investigation by the SARS Advisory Board headed by Judge Frank Kroon and lastly there was one by KPMG.
Sikhakhane and Kroon found that the “rogue unit” was unlawfully established. Their findings have been corroborated by the KPMG investigation. This may explain why Pravin Gordhan is running away from the law by hiding behind white monopoly capital which has hired him to look after its interests.
The “Rogue Unit” was used to illegally spy on citizens and state organs fighting crime. The “Rogue unit” was another instrument used by SARS under Gordhan to strengthen the hand of white capital.
The current battles between Treasury (which is totally captured by white capital through Gordhan whom they have forced the ANC to appoint) and ESKOM which is ran by patriots like Brian Molele and Dr Ngubane is about safeguarding the interests of white capital. White monopoly capital is angry that under Ngubane and Molefe black business has been transacting more with ESKOM. The target of white capital thus far has been the Gupta family which after buying a subsidiary of the Swiss conglomerate, Optimum Coal, has been able to secure only about 5% coal supply to Eskom. The question not asked is, who supplies the rest of the coal needs of ESKOM? White capital is protecting its hegemony and using Treasury as its army to fight its battles. Gordhan was appointed at the behest of these white capitalists who now are served by Treasury.
BLF supports the call made by Mzwanele Manyi of the Decolonisation Foundation for the investigation into the shocking R100 billion ballooning of the costs of power stations. BLF also supports the case against the current PP who has not investigated matters brought before her without fear or favour as required by law. BLF members were last month arrested for demanding a meeting to get feedback for the four years old and stagnated investigation into the R26 billion stolen by white capital. BLF also saw how the PP was doing everything possible to raise funds to investigate the bizarre claims by the DA of state capture by the Guptas but did nothing on the complaint of state capture by whites lodged by BLF.
BLF calls on the State President to show leadership, to defend our national sovereignty by nationalization of the State Owned Enterprises so that they serve the people. Free electricity and access to telecommunication is not a favour but a right.
BLF notes with grave concern the interference of the US imperialist forces in South Africa. The call by the American Chamber of Commerce to the public and Members of the Parliament to defend Gordhan, is a call for a coup and must be resisted and rejected. If Gordhan was not an agent of imperialism, he would have distanced himself from such blatant imperialist arrogance. BLF says; “Down with American Imperialism”.
BLF is aware that western imperialism has already created both an economic and political crisis in Brazil to remove the pro BRICS democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff. They now want to repeat the same situation in SA.
BLF calls for the removal of Pravin Gordhan from office with immediate effect and for the nationalisaiton of the SOE as the best defense mechanism for safeguarding them.
Zanele Lwana and Lindsay Maasdorp are both BLF Spokespersons