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The ANC big shots who stand by ‘comrade’ Pravin Gordhan

The ANC Youth League and Womens’ League have already called for finance minister Pravin Gordhan to resign. But close to a dozen of the party’s national executive committee members along with alliance partners have defended him, questioning the timing of the fraud claims and pledging to be by the minister’s side in court. Here are some of the most notable:

ANC Head of Economic Transformation Enoch Godongwana
“What he’s been charged with is a standard practice in government. It’s never been considered as a crime. A number of us will be marching with all South Africans on the second of November to support Pravin. We can not be silent as South Africans when people who are running good governance are being undermined. The charge is spurious given the background. Because of that I will not support the call for Pravin to resign.”

ANC NEC member Joel Netshitenzhe
“It all looks quite suspicious and of course concerning, because of its impact on the SA economy but also the impact on the credibility of the ANC and its standing in the public. He shouldn’t resign if all those suspicions he holds about the shenanigans might be accurate… because this might precisely be the intention of the charges…”

ANC NEC member and Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla
“Its a shame. [What’s happening] Is not different to what happened in 2003 when NPA said they have a case [against Zuma] but not a winnable case. This thing does not have credibility. He [Abrahams] is under pressure. Fruitless expenditure is the competence of the auditor general. I have no doubt in my mind that somebody has put pressure on Abrahams. This about getting rid of Pravin.”

ANC chief whip in parliament Jackson Mthembu
“We will be with him, some of us all the way, to wherever he’s going. We will accompany him there if need be‚ to the courts‚ as an ANC comrade‚ as a cadre of our movement‚ as a disciplined cadre of our movement‚ and as a wonderful finance minister.”

ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize
“The charges appear thin and are also not convincing, but when we get the details, we’ll probably understand. The issues are a bit tricky in the sense that people retire and get brought back. If there was any error in that, it becomes an administrative, internal issue….” – Business Day, October 13.

ANC NEC member Max Sisulu
“To threaten to arrest him at this time, when the economy is in trouble, is bloody foolish. The minister is driving the economy in the right direction … Why threaten to arrest somebody who is doing a good job? Pravin has my support. I have faith in him.” – City Press October 13.

ANC NEC member Senzeni Zokwana
The concern we have is that this happens at a time when our economy is facing challenges and the rand has dropped. We believe that he has been charged on the basis of clear evidence. I do support him. Whether I will be in court will be informed by programme, but if I’m free I will be in court and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali
“It’s difficult to know whether there is a case to answer or not, so we can’t indicate if its legitimate. It’s timing makes us very concerned. I don’t think he should resign. The risk of resigning or suspending yourself is that it will set a precedent. What happens next time? People trump up charges, you resign and they withdraw the charges. There will be no recourse to get the job back. He already indicated that he has a job to do. I can’t imagine that he should put his job aside and defend himself.”

SACP statement
“The party has noted the denial of any political involvement in this matter, but also that after assuring Gordhan that he was not a suspect, and then pausing for the local government elections, the matter was suddenly back on the table just after the elections. The timing has an eerie similarity with the events that unfolded between 2003 and 2007, when the timing of another prosecution against a senior politician appeared to be coordinated around a political calendar.”

Former ANC treasurer general Matthews Phosa
“The people who are going to join (anti-apartheid activist Ahmed) Kathrada to accompany Pravin arereacting spontaneously out of their concern about the wrong direction the country is taking. Pravin must hang in there and hold the bull by its horns. It is Jacob Zuma (and not Gordhan) who must step down and go, rather than pull us all into a ditch”

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Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

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