Public spectacle of Hawks vs Gordhan is hurting the economy: Mantashe

ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe has given the party’s views on the latest round of controversies that have brought it into disrepute.

First on the agenda, the ANC denied receiving any money from Prasa, as was claimed by the rail group’s chairman, Popo Molefe.

Molefe alleged that the party received R80 million in payments made to Angolan businesswoman, Maria da Cruz Gomes, who is a friend of president Jacob Zuma.

Read: ANC alleged to have received R80 million in Prasa train bribes: report

Mantashe distanced the party from any wrongdoing in the matter, saying that any corruption needs to be revealed, and that action will be taken against any ANC members who are found to be implicated in the matter, if any.

Mantashe moved on to dismiss any narrative that the party was fighting itself from within, and said that the Hawks’ case against finance minister Pravin Gordhan was hurting the economy.

Mantashe’s statement contradicted lines coming from his deputy, Jesse Duarte, who admitted that there were those within the ANC who were fighting against leadership.

Read: 5 things the ANC wants you to know about Zuma, the Guptas and Gordhan

It is widely understood that two factions have emerged within the ANC – those who support president Zuma, and those who are seeking reform – and that internal politicking and power-grabs have pushed South Africa towards an economic cliff.

Prime among these struggles is the Hawks’ charges against finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who is said to be the only person blocking president Zuma from capturing Treasury and continuing to finance his system of patronage and tenderpreneurship which has underpinned his presidency.

Mantashe dismissed the Zuma vs Gordhan narrative, and reaffirmed the ANC’s full support and confidence in Gordhan – but he criticized government structures and branches of the party for dealing with the matter so publicly. “It could have been handled better,” he said.

He said the process which the Hawks followed was “not natural”, and had elements of trying to humiliate the minister.

The process of sending 27 questions, and then months later demanding Gordhan appear for charges, undermined the process, Mantashe said. Specifically, having a public spat on the process is “unnatural”, he said.

“We are not saying that Gordhan must be untouchable…we are saying handle the issue in a decent way.”

However, were he the one who was being investigated, he said he would follow the necessary structures, implying that he believes Gordhan should have submitted himself for investigation and co-operated.

Similarly, he said it was a pity that the ongoing back-and-forth between Eskom and Treasury over an investigation into the power utility’s contracts with the Guptas was also being dealt with in the public domain.

Read: Gordhan’s Treasury rakes Eskom over the coals

When institutes air their issues publicly, the SG said, it dents the credibility of the state, and undermines their functions. Matters such as those being ‘leaked’ into the press should be dealt with behind closed doors to secure the economy, he said.

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Public spectacle of Hawks vs Gordhan is hurting the economy: Mantashe