Gordhan is representative of minority group ‒ analyst

NUMSA's Irvin Jim says the union is happy to see the Pravin Gordhan go, but they want accountability from the man they believe tanked the country's state-owned enterprises. Picture: Se-Anne Rall

NUMSA's Irvin Jim says the union is happy to see the Pravin Gordhan go, but they want accountability from the man they believe tanked the country's state-owned enterprises. Picture: Se-Anne Rall

Published Mar 10, 2024


The reason why Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan announced his retirement was that many within the ANC saw him as representative of the minority group in racial ethnic terms, political analyst Andre Duvenage told The Star yesterday.

Duvenage said Gordhan was also a representative of what he called the “old guard”.

The analyst was reacting to Gordhan’s announcement that he will retire after the elections.

He said Takatso deal was among the reasons Gordhan’s decision to retire, adding that it was, however, not the final nail in his coffin.

“His constant conflict with Gwede Mantashe on many issues including Eskom was part of this. Already for the past year or two, there were strong indications that Gordhan was not considered as a favourable leader within the leadership of the ANC; he had conflict with many people,” added Duvenage.

“There are many things like said that played a role in his decision if you are functioning in an environment where corruption is endemic, and one would be implicated in some way.”

In terms of whether Gordhan laves a solid legacy, Duvenage said he “won’t put him on a scale of excellence”, but he would rate him as an average minister.

Gordhan’s announcement comes amid the controversial sale of SAA to the Takatso Consortium which was concluded in 2021 for R51 per share.

Recently, he has been under fire with members of the portfolio committee for wanting to keep several documents relating to the sale agreement a secret.

In a move that seemed to irk the majority of committee members, Gordhan proposed that MPs sign non-disclosure agreements.

The agreement would have forced MPs to keep mum about the information provided in a closed committee meeting and it would also be omitted on the committee report.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), in a statement, described Gordhan as the worst minister since the advent of democracy.

Numsa’s general secretary Irvin Jim said it was pity that he was not leaving sooner.

“Just like the hit song by Miley Cyrus, Gordhan came in like a wrecking ball in 2018 and he has wrecked every single state-owned entity that he touched.

“We said in our previous statement that he has a ‘deadly Midas touch’ because everywhere he goes, SOEs collapse and workers suffer.

“He claimed he was turning around SOEs; unfortunately, most of them are in ICU or have died because of his involvement. It is a painful irony that Gordhan once served as a member of the SA Communist Party Central Committee because his actions have been a relentless and brutal attack on workers and their families.

“His values are the opposite of Communism and its noble ideals, which are to advance and to improve the lives of the working class,” Jim added.

The union said the Gordhan was trying to bully Parliament into covering up the “dirty deal” with the Takatso Consortium.

Furthermore, the union said it demanded accountability from the minister, adding that he can’t be allowed to get away with selling SAA for far less than its value.

“Workers at SAA wanted to use their pensions to invest in the airline so that they could be shareholders, but he denied them that opportunity. Instead, he engineered the deal so that it can be sold to people hand-picked by him, for less than a R100! Most of the workers who were retrenched remain unemployed.

“Gordhan’s sins must not go unpunished. We demand justice, on behalf of the working class which has suffered immeasurably under his tenure. As Numsa we say, ‘Good riddance to bad rubbish’.”

On Friday, the Department of Public Enterprises confirmed in a statement that Gordhan had “expressed his intention to retire from active politics” when the term of the current administration comes to an end following the elections.

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Gordhan denied collapsing SOEs, saying these were now in a better position than they were during the state capture era.

Gordhan said he is happy with the position of the country’s state entities.

“With the SOEs being in a slightly better position than they were during the state capture period and having brought in place a new management team and new generation of people who ill continue to build state capacity and the various institution, as well.

“Importantly, we have also have to teach them about our recent past and the dangers of corruption and state capture and that we should allow that to ever return to South Africa,” Gordhan said.