By Devine Hadebe
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s recent attacks on Black interest groups cannot go unchallenged. Gordhan recently accused the Black Business Council (BBC) of representing the interests of a single family, believed to be a reference to the Guptas, without providing names or the evidence.
He has also accused SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane and Management of “supporting one family against 55-million South Africans.” These claims were also made without providing any evidence to substantiate them.
It’s become pretty clear from his responses that the minister reserves different responses for different skin shades. While he’s very tolerant to concerns by our white counterparts and business – who it must be said pass very little judgement against the minister – he has been particularly intolerant of views and criticism from Blacks.
Organisations representing Blacks, the poor and Black business have been critical of the way National Treasury and not Gordhan personally, has conducted itself in that it has not prioritised issues of poverty and economic transformation. Responding to the 2017 budget speech, BBC said the budget was way short of delivering radical economic transformation. It said, among other things, that government’s use of inflation targeting as its only means of economic transformation was “primitive”. http://(http://blackbusinesscouncil.org/bbc-responds-to-budget-speech-2017/).
The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) too didn’t spare treasury. It questioned the incoherence between Gordhan’s budget and President Jacob Zuma’s SONA speech calling it sabotage if it were to “trickle down to other departments. The ANCWL also accused Gordhan of treating banks found colluding in currency trading with kids gloves. http://(http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/ancwl-slams-incoherence-between-gordhans-budget-and-zumas-sona-20170223)
Pravin’s response to white and big business is always measured and respectful. It seeks to clarify with dignity, the pros and cons, of his actions. He goes to lengths to explain why a decision was taken, addressing the things he didn’t address in his speech and makes an effort to their confidence. He certainly never scolds them like little boys and girls for “not knowing what’s good for the country” or dismiss them as he did the Hawks by telling them to “allow me to do my job”.
Scolding Black people and business
When responding to Blacks and their issues, Pravin has elevated himself to a parent who knows what’s good for them. He scoffs, dismisses and is downright condescending. Take Moyane’s case for example, who complained that Gordhan treated him like a little boy, a “nonentity” and even refused to shake his hand. http://www.fin24.com/Economy/zuma-to-intervene-in-gordhanmoyane-stand-off-20170224
Instead of addressing the issues raised by his detractors, Gordhan has adopted a defensive stance, dismissing issues raised as being done “at the behest of one family” and ridiculing them as those “who do not know how treasury works”.
In a recent meeting at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), Gordhan and BBC reportedly had a heated discussion in which among others, the minister accused BBC of trying to “capture treasury” in defending “one family”.
To the minister, I say please respect us. We are Black but have the intelligence and mental capacity to separate our interests and those of our country from that “one family”. You cannot lay claim to being the sole person who knows what is good for Blacks or what and how they think. And no Mr Minister, we are not so mentally incapacitated that we need the “family” to think for us.
Sadly, commercial media have placed the finance minister on such a pedestal that he’s assuming a god-like figure even bigger than the iconic former President Nelson Mandela. This despite the fact that he’s the same man under whose watch banks looted the rand for almost ten years. He’s also the same man who is obsessed with rating agencies which we now know have been found to be fraudulent, a conduct for which they have had to pay hefty fines in the US. The difference is however that Mandela always had an ear for the concerns of the black majority and the poor. During his term Mandela responded to criticism and concerns of the Black majority with dignity and respect. You may want to take a lesson from him Mr Minister.