By Andile Mngxitama
The former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, has lost, with costs, a high court application against the Gupta-owned Oakbay group of companies. The full bench of the high court was scathing in its assessment of Gordhan’s application, which it found to be “unnecessary” and threw it out with costs. But why did Gordhan go to court on such a weak case?
Many may have forgotten the time, date and environment when the former minister of finance lodged the application. Gordhan lodged the application the following day after former public protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, was served interdict papers to prevent her from releasing the so-called “state of capture” report. The interdict papers were served to Madonsela a day before she was meant to vacate her office. Madonsela wanted to go out with a bang but her thunder was tamed by the court interdict. It was known at the time that the court interdict would stall the release of the report, so plan B had to be activated urgently, so as to not fully disappoint White Monopoly Capital and the Democratic Alliance (DA). Madonsela needed to give her faction something special to beat Zuma with – it was the report and the leaked audio of her interview with Zuma.
It must be remembered that Gordhan had made special arrangements to release funding to ensure the report was prioritised. There were other reports as urgent and even more important, such as the CIEX report that implicates white monopoly capital in massive corruption. Mandonsela was not interested in all that; nailing Zuma was the most important consideration. Part of nailing Zuma was creating massive problems for the Oakbay group which is wrongly considered the backers of Zuma.
Plan B, in the well coordinated battle in defence of white monopoly capital, involved the then public protector and the Gordhan faction which includes Trevor Manuel, Tito Mboweni and Derek Hanekom. This plan was that if the president was halting the release of the report, then the following day Pravin Gordhan would lodge the case against Oakbay and ask for a declaratory on the powers he knew he had.
The application would serve two important political functions. There is little doubt that Gordhan knew his case had a chance of being thrown out with costs. But that was not important. He gambled on the fact that society had been mobilised against the Guptas and therefore white judges would overlook how weak his case is and give him victory over the Guptas. Too bad for Gordhan and co., the bench was black. But remember, winning was not his big motivation.
So what was the application about?
The first political consideration was that if they didn’t have the Mandonsela “bomb” then they would create a diversion from losing the case by lodging their own application. This is important. The Gordhan faction knows how to play political mind games and have a whole army of white media to drive their propaganda. The first thing was to move the focus of the nation from the fact that Madonsela faced a court interdict which prevented her from releasing the report. Madonsela didn’t have the exit they all had been working towards. We know soon after, Madonsela leaked the audio of her interview with Zuma, in clear contravention of the court process. The report was their weapon – they needed it out by hook or crook.
There was the second and even more sinister motive for the court application by Gordhan. For the whole thing to work they needed something special to feed their army of propagandists, otherwise known as the media. The pot of gold was the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) certificate showing “72 suspicious” transactions by Oakbay, involving some R6 billion rand. This worked like a charm.
As we all now know, as per court decision, the FIC certificate was irrelevant to the application and so too was the affidavit of the former deputy minister of finance, Mcebisi Jonas. The evil plan is always laid out like this: If you want to smear someone with false or inaccurate information which you can’t release, the best way is to add such information to a court application because then it’s public information and your media army will readily run a propaganda campaign. Attaching damaging information on a court application is the best way to generate fake news. The point is that by the time court throws the material out as irrelevant and harmful it will be months later and the damage done. Gordhan and his gang knew the FIC certificate could not be released to the public because of legal implications. Secondly they knew if they put the certificate in a court application it would be taken as fact and give credence to fake stories.
The truth of the matter is that the FIC certificate and the flagged transactions meant nothing – that’s why the banks allowed them. If there is a suspicious movement of money banks flag it and ask for explanations and once satisfactory answers are given, the transactions are approved but are recorded. This is true for thousands if not millions of transactions. Why pick on the Guptas? It was all a contrived plan to project them as corrupt in the battle to defend White Monopoly Capital.
Once Gordhan had the FIC certificate in the public domain his job was done. He sat back and watched the media and London controlled opposition parties tear the Gupta family businesses apart and creating mass hysteria about the Guptas. The irony of it all being that those who fought so hard to demonize the Guptas said nothing about Lonmin which continues to trade peacefully after it caused the deaths of workers in Marikana. There was nothing suspicious about the so-called “suspicious” transactions by Oakbay and Gordhan knew this truth. However, this truth didn’t stop the white owned media from generating fake news. On the contrary they milked it to the bone.
Any lawyer could have told Gordhan his application was without merit. There is little doubt that he didn’t know this. The application was not about a stupid declaratory order about powers he had. The application was a political attack in defence of white monopoly capital by abusing the court system.
Today things are clearer. The court has, as expected, dismissed Gordhan’s application with costs. Unfortunately, the decision will not clear the tarnished name of the Guptas and Oakbay. It is also clear that Madonsela was not a public protector but the protector of white capital. Advocate Mandonsela refused to investigate the corrupt Johann Rupert, who is implicated in the theft of billions from the South African Reserve Bank. To thank her for her services, Rupert created a special post for Madonsela at Stellenbosch University where he is Chancellor. Mandonsela served white monopoly capital and it in turn is taking care of her. The apartheid government also used to take care of its spies and agents.
Gordhan has also served white monopoly capital with distinction, including abusing his office and the court system. We have seen how his Oakbay application had no real prospects of succeeding but he pushed it for evil intentions. Gordhan is a shareholder in all the banks, including those found guilty of corruption by the Competition Commission. As a minister he fought the battle of his business partners where he derived direct benefit as a shareholder. The frivolous case was not about law or fighting corruption but was an underhand scheme to feed the media frenzy against the most feared competition of white monopoly capital.
Tax payers should not fund the self enrichment schemes of Gordhan. The cost of the legally “unnecessary” application must be paid by Pravin Gordhan from his own pocket. This will serve as a deterrent to others not to abuse public office for private interests. Gordhan never had a case and he knew it. He just wanted to tarnish and rubbish the name and reputation of the opponents of white monopoly capital. Well, he almost did succeed. The court’s decision gives a bit of relief to the Guptas and Oakbay, although it can be said that it’s too little too late. The demonisation of the Guptas, based on lies, is in full swing.