Addressing the media after being confirmed as public enterprises minister on Thursday, Pravin Gordhan held firm even with recharged assaults against him following an unfavorable finding by the public protector.
Gordhan has taken Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on court review after she found he had acted improperly by approving early retirement for a senior SA Revenue Service official nearly a decade ago. Gordhan has countered that the public protector exceeded her mandate in the matter and he had followed good legal advice in approving the package for Ivan Pillay.
Parties such as Black First Land First and the EFF have used the report to slam Gordhan, with the party’s leaders calling him a “constitutional delinquent”, a favourite phrase for the EFF that was first used on then president Jacob Zuma.
In a televised eNCA reaction, Gordhan responded to this by saying: “I was part of drafting the constitution,” adding that “we can’t be delinquents”, when it came to constitutional matters.
“We have a job to do, and to execute the mandate given to all of us … part of which is to get the state-owned entities to work, and to work efficiently, and become self-sufficient. [We need to] continue to unravel state capture and corruption within these entities.
“Of course, this will have a whole lot of ripple effects as well. As those ripples begin to reach people who are impacted by the exposures, we’ll see lots of fake narratives, as we see also in the world, and in South Africa.
“You might already see an increase in the Bell Pottinger type of activity as well, so that you smear people who are actually doing the good work of exposing corruption.
“We’re not going to be intimidated in the course of doing our work.”