POLITICS

Pravin Gordhan Says (Publicly) For The First Time: Zuma Must Go

People with a "bank account in Dubai" can buy power nowadays, said the former finance minister.

18/07/2017 13:47 SAST | Updated 18/07/2017 13:58 SAST
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President Jacob Zuma during the announcement of a new line of bank notes at the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria, with former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and the governor of the Reserve Bank, Gill Marcus.

For the first time in public, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has called for President Jacob Zuma to step down.

State capture is a fact and no more evidence was needed from the leaked Gupta emails, he said.

Gordhan said: "What the public now want to know is, what are we doing about it?"

Gordhan continued: "I think the president should move aside and let somebody take over this country so that we can fulfill the aspiration that Madiba and his generation had for South Africa."

He was part of a panel at the inaugural Liliesleaf Legacy Conference, held at Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

Gordhan told 702 talk show host Eusebius McKaiser in a panel discussion: "For a country that has produced a Madiba -- and by that I mean not just the individual, but that collective of leaders -- we should be ashamed of ourselves in terms of how we are attempting to conduct ourselves in leadership terms today." McKaiser chaired the panel.

Gordhan became the second high profile ANC member to call for the president to step down. At the the Conference for the Future of South Africa also on Tuesday, Makhosi Khoza said Zuma should step down, adding that "South Africa no longer needs you".

He referred to Sassa's former CEO, Thokozani Magwaza, saying: "The notion of state capture is telling us that those who are responsible for bringing people to book are the very ones who are refusing to do it. They rather chase innocent people, get CEOs fired just because they stand up for things, even if they have made mistakes before." His contract was terminated, Magwaza told Moneyweb on Tuesday.

Unlike today's leaders, Nelson Mandela could not be bought, said Gordhan.

"He [Mandela] was told, 'You can be released, you can go to Transkei', but he said no. He was a unique figure who held on to his own sense of dignity. In today's world, how many leaders do we have who have a non-negotiable purpose? Your purpose [as a leader] is actually transactional today. You can buy it [power] from an account in Dubai or wherever. Even for an air ticket."

Other guests included Roelf Meyer, who took part in the negotiations for a democratic transition, journalist Ranjeni Munusamy, and ANC member Febe Potgieter-Gqubule.

Gordhan added the current generation must take responsibility and stop blaming Madiba for its own failures.

"[We must] stop blaming Madiba for our own human shortcomings, for our own sense of greed, for our lack of respect about what we need to do to build on the foundation that he left for us," he said.

"So we can't put our responsibility... on somebody else's shoulders. If each generation, responsibly, does its piece of work, we will have a great country for probably everybody's great grandchildren here."