By Andile Mngxitama
The Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, is conflicted, compromised and captured by white settler monopoly capital. He is consequently not a fit and proper person to be the country’s Minister of Finance. He must be fired by President Zuma without delay! The reasons for such a definite judgement are as follows:
1. Gordhan has business ties to white capital which compromises his ability to serve the nation. In this regard the “Register of Members’ Interests, 2015” in the “Joint Committee on Ethics and Members Interests” lists all the businesses that Gordhan has interests in. The said Register of Members’ Interests indicates companies that are accused of stealing R26 billion from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) which is under the Ministry of Finance. Quite clearly, Gordhan will not investigate companies that he has shares in and is benefitting from.
2. A criminal case has been opened by the BLF at the South African Police Services (SAPS) against a number of white business persons 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 involving state capture by white capitalist businesses. This case is currently being investigated by the HAWKS.
3. A complaint has also been lodged by BLF with the Public Protector regarding state capture by the same white business persons mentioned in number 2 including Johann Rupert. BLF further requested the President to institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on state capture. In addition BLF has presented the President, SAPS, HAWKS and the Public Protector with evidence that shows that these business persons and Johann Rupert have illegally interfered with the duties of the President to appoint ministers in terms of the Constitution which they claim to uphold.
4. Johann Rupert who is also the chairperson of the Swiss luxury goods conglomerate Richemont acted in a corrupt fashion when he summoned ANC leaders, specifically Cyril Ramaphosa and Trevor Manuel, and instructed them to ensure the firing of Des van Rooyen and the hiring of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance. In this regard, Johann Rupert has interests in the economy, so he wants a Minister of Finance who will take care of his interests.
5. How Gordhan handled the saga of the closure of the Oakbay bank accounts last year further demonstrates that Gordhan is conflicted, compromised and beholden to white monopoly capital. In April 2016 Oakbay publicly announced that the banks had closed its banking accounts and that that its auditors (KPMG) as well as its sponsor on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Sasfin, have terminated their services with it. Oakbay indicated that the banks had acted irregularly and unjustifiably in closing its accounts and to this end it had made several approaches to Gordhan, to seek his intervention (on behalf of government) to approach the banks so as to reverse their decision to close its accounts.
6. In this regard, Gordhan was unable to execute his tasks which entailed following a process sanctioned by Cabinet. He failed to attend a single Inter Ministerial Committee meeting to deal with the issue. On 14 October 2016 he chose instead, and at state expense, to approach the High Court (Gauteng Provincial Division, Case Number 80978/16) for an order that he is “not by law empowered or obliged to intervene in the relationship” between the four major banks and Oakbay regarding the closure of the Oakbay bank accounts.
7. Evidence in rebuttal has shown that the allegations that Oakbay had shifted funds illegally out of the country, is false. To this end approval from SARB to transfer funds to the Bank of Baroda under a new account was clearly requested by the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP). Hence the accusations of the so-called tax loss and threat are unfounded.
8. The fact that Oakbay is a primary competitor of the businesses that Gordhan has shares in, further explains why he cannot be impartial.
9. Quite clearly the said High Court application by Gordhan, which is currently locked in a court battle, serves the banks (in which Gordhan has shares) which ensured that he be appointment as Minister of Finance. This further demonstrates how he is using his position as Minister of Finance to serve his business partners.
10. Pravin Gordhan has shares in ABSA, the same bank which is facing corruption charges for stealing R3.2 billion from SARB which is under his Ministery.
11. Gordhan is a beneficiary of BHP Billion which has consumed 11% of the national energy and is increasing the energy burden through its unethical deal that is tantamount to a subsidy from the state.
12. Gordhan has shares in Remgro, which is owned by Johann Rupert who is, as indicated above, being investigated by the HAWKS for state capture in relation to the hiring of Gordhan as Minister of Finance. Moreover, Rupert as indicated below is accused of being one of the white business people who stole R26 billion from SARB.
13. On 16 November 2016 BLF opened a case with the SAPS against Johann Rupert and 16 others for the theft of R26 billion from SARB. BLF has also requested that the case be looked into by the HAWKS. Gordhan benefits directly from many of the businesses implicated in the theft of the R26 billion from SARB which is under the Ministry of Finance. Gordhan’s conflict of interest situation prevents him from investigating companies that he has business interests in.
14. The war between Treasury and ESKOM is about promoting the interests of white settler monopoly capital. White settler monopoly capital is angry that under Brian Molefe and Dr Ben Ngubane, black business has been transacting more with ESKOM. White capital thus far has targeted the Gupta family who after buying a subsidiary of the Swiss conglomerate, Optimum Coal, has been able to secure a deal to supply about 5% of ESKOM’s coal needs. White capital will not ask who supplies the rest of the coal needs of ESKOM. It is protecting its hegemony and using Treasury to fight its battles.
15. Gordhan was appointed on the command of the white capitalists who are now being served by Treasury. The current crisis over state owned enterprises (SOEs) are part of the ongoing “state capture” by white capital.
16. Companies like Anglo American and Remgro (in which Minister Gordhan has shares) do business with SOEs such as Eskom. Gordhan benefits out of businesses that do business with the State. This is why he cannot be impartial.
17. Gordhan is consistently showing that his first priority is to defend white monopoly capital, not the interests of the country. There is accordingly no likelihood that SARB, under Gordhan, would do anything to assist in the process of recovering the R26 billion that was stolen by apartheid era white capitalists and politicians from SARB.
18. On 15 February 2017 the Competition Commission found that the following 17 banks were guilty of collusion: Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase & Co, JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A, Investec Ltd, Standard New York Securities Inc., HSBC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Credit Suisse Group; Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd, Commerzbank AG; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Nomura International Plc., Macquarie Bank Limited, ABSA Bank Limited (ABSA), Barclays Capital Inc, Barclays Bank plc. This finding by the Competition Commission confirm the conclusion the banks operating in South Africa, including South African banks, are common criminal organizations which are protected by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and Pravin Gordhan as the Minister of Finance.
19. On 17 February 2017 BLF called for SARB to start criminal proceedings against the above 17 banks for collusion which in turn resulted in a loss of R500 billion. Gordhan has shares in many of these banks and benefits directly from the proceeds of the criminal activities of the banks. The minister is compromised and conflicted by having shares in these banks. Hence SARB under Gordhan will not proceed against these banks by way of criminal prosecutions.
20. On 22 Feb 2017 BLF laid a charge against Pravin Gordhan for contravening section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004) regarding his failure to report criminal activity that was reported to him by Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas as indicated in the “State of Capture” report of the Public Protector. To this end Mr Jonas has claimed that he was offered the position of Minister of Finance and money in exchange for certainy favours by a Gupta family member and that he rejected the offer “out of hand”. The fact that the alleged offence was reported to Pravin Gordhan who in turn did not report it to the appropriate authority, is in itself an offence committed by him.
21. Last week a leaked HAWKS memorandum dated 17 March 2017 revealed conclusive evidence of corruption and theft of R11 million by Pravin Gordhan from the Special Pension Fund at the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.
22. The Special Pension Fund excludes public officials from benefitting from it and Gordhan, who was a public official at the time of the coming into effect of the fund, illegally benefited millions from it. Gordhan received the said millions from the then Head of the Pensions Fund, Marion Mbina Mthembu, who subsequently corroborated this allegation in a meeting with the HAWKS on 15 December 2016. In this regards the HAWKS were referred by Mthembu to Kabelo Jonathan of the Government Pension Administration Agency (GPAA). The evidence against Gordhan in this regard suggests that he is criminally liable and to this end should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
23. Gordhan is also accused of serious contraventions of the law which occurred during his tenure as Commissioner of the South African Revenue Services (SARS). To this end, under his watch, a “Rogue Unit” was set up which engaged in serious violations of people’s rights.
24. There is strong evidence to this effect that SARS under Gordhan unlawfully used over R106 million to run the secret “Rogue Unit” in the interests of white monopoly capital while infringing upon citizens rights. To this end SARS consistently lied about the existence of the “Rogue Unit” to the public.
25. Three credible investigations have found that the “Rogue Unit” was formed and that it did in fact exist illegally. To this end damning evidence was presented before the Sikhakhane Commission whose findings were subsequently confirmed by a KPMG report.
26. The white media including the Mail and Guardian and the Rapport are amongst those implicated in working closely with the “Rogue Unit” at SARS in service of white monopoly capital. The white media is now staunchly defending Gordhan.
27. Evidently, Gordhan’s strategy, which he has been consistently applying, is to employ the media to launch a defence so as to discredit the investigation into the Rogue Unit and the criminal prosecutions that’s likely to follow against him.
28. In all of the above circumstances there is accordingly overwhelming evidence suggesting unethical and criminal conduct on the part of Gordhan which, amongst other things, links him to white capitalists who insisted that he be appointed the Minister of Finance.
29. It is clear therefore that Gordhan ought to have recused himself from that position of Minister of Finance as soon at it became public that his business associates had insisted that he be appointed. To this end BLF has a pending High Court application to declare Gordhan conflicted, compromised and captured by white capital and by extension unfit to be a Minister of Finance.
30. Our country cannot afford to have a Minister of Finance who is beholden to white monopoly capital. We need a Minister who will respond to the real needs of blacks and the capacity to discipline capital. Pravin is not fit to be the Minister of Finance of this country! He must go!
Andile Mngxitama is the National Convenor of the Black First Land First (BLF) movement.