Politics

Gordhan Is Not Above The Law

PUBLIC ENTERPRISES Minister Pravin Gordhan is scheduled to meet Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane today, 14 November 2018 and like everything that has to do with this minister and being accountable to the law, his appearance has been mired in manufactured controversy.

The story that Mkhwebane had subpoenaed Gordhan was broken by none-other-than Ranjeni Munusamny – she who tried to convince the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) to ensure this minister became president when former Jacob Zuma was recalled before his term of office ended. https://uncensoredopinion.co.za/what-degree-of-separation-is-there-between-a-politician-a-spy-and-a-journalist/

Gordhan, upon getting the subpoena, wrote a letter to the Zondo Commission into state capture and complained that Mkhwebane’s investigation was “misuse and abuse of public powers for suspicious objectives”

The complaint was lodged by Lebogang Hoveka who she falsely describes as a speechwriter in former Jacob Zuma’s office. Hoveka, in his statement, which we publish in full below, says he was never in Jacob Zuma’s office.

We will publish three statements and you can decide for yourself:

  • Hoveka’s statement upon establishing he was in Gordhan’s complaint to the Zondo Commission
  • Gordhan’s lawyers’ chronology of events leading to the subpoena
  • Public Protector’s response to the Gordhan’s lawyers

Here’s the statement by Hoveka.

STATEMENT BY LEBOGANG HOVEKA ON PP INVESTIGATION INTO MIN. PRAVIN GORDHAN
On the evening of 07 November 2018, it came to my attention that by some strange reason Min. Gordhan has named/implicated me in his submissions to the Zondo commission.
This story was broken by Ranjeni Munusami of the Business Day in spite of the Public Protector’s Office asking her not to do so.
She was well-aware that she is prohibited from disclosing the complainant in a protected disclosure. She also published confidential information leaked from a commission.
I make the same observation that Min. Gordhan is under oath “to hold his office as with honour and dignity; to be a true and faithful counsellor; not to divulge directly or indirectly any secret matter entrusted to him”
I believe this to be an appalling and gratuitous attempt to bully me and tarnish my good name.
It is trite law that my request for an investigation is a protected disclosure. It should never have been made public without the expressed instruction of the Public Protector. I now fear for my life and safety. This is grossly unfair and unjust.
I cannot understand how we expect people to report corruption when such leaks sink into the public domain.
I felt it my civic duty to report the matter. It was my view that government monies where being stolen and the country opened to serious political risk.
I think I was right. Today VAT is 15%, our sovereign ratings are outrageous, the middle-class is caught in a spiral of debt and the poor suffer as they must. This I believe to be a consequence of few politicians who know no honour and dice loosely with our people’s lives.
As an activist in my own right, and an experienced public servants, I am exposed to many factors that are not always in the public domain. These may compel me to reach certain conclusions.
Shortly after my graduation in 2007, I joined the ANC Parliamentary Caucus as a Researcher for Economic Transformation serving finance committees under Hons. Nhlanhla Nene, Elliot Sogoni and De Beer.
From there I was seconded to the head office of the SACP, where I reported to Mr. Solly Mapaila.
In the course of time, I was appointed Assistant Private-Secretary to Hon. Yunus Carrim, the current chair of the Finance Committee.
Fortune favoured me and I was appointed a 2nd Speechwriter in then Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s office. I have never worked for President Jacob Zuma.
History speaks for itself that the above people are people of high moral rectitude and have infused in me an erudite sense of public morality.
It is also of no weight to ignore the fact that I hold a degree in applied ethics— I live ethics every day.
Former President Motlanthe had a particular impact on me as a protégée. Whenever he was accused of wrong-doing he would ask the Public Protector to investigate.
When I asked him about this, he taught me that the Executive Ethics Code served a dual purpose. Ours is a country where stories are routinely cooked-up to assassinate people’s characters politically. So when one is accused, the honourable thing is to voluntarily ask the Public Protector to investigate. This has a deterrent effect on untruths but it is, in the main, about restoring public trust.
So to sum up: I thought Min. Gordhan protests too much. In part, I wanted to help him and the nation move forward by asking for an investigation.
We have to stop the culture of claiming that everything is a conspiracy by using the institutions available to us— not extra-judicial fight-back campaigns.
This is a slide down the moral slippery slope. We must fight corruption vigorously and defend our democracy but we must do without destroying important institutions.
I wish to deal briefly with the 3 weeks period between Adv. Mkhwebane and Adv. Madonsela. I was deeply conflicted. It took that long. I was wrought with indecision. I also researched the matter extensively to avoid making unfounded allegations.
I therefore wish to state categorical that I am not in any illicit service to the Public Protector’ or anyone with ill-motive. I respect her to do her work honourably and without influence. She must be allowed to do the work she was appointed to do. Ministers must respect her office above the person who holds it.
Now, if I am not persecuted for standing-up for what is right, I will appear before the Zondo commission under oath and subject myself to cross-examination. I will take it further and submit to a lie-detector test that:
1. I never colluded with the Public Protector against Mr Gordhan. I simply asked her to investigate. In fact, I sometimes found my interactions with her office frustrating, yet always honourable.
2. I confirm that I had ambivalence on whether this was a criminal matter. But I submitted the matter to the PP as a case of maladministration and unethical conduct.
3. At various stages during this investigation, I grew cold and wanted to withdraw the matter. The egg was scrabbled and the PP decided to proceed of her own volition.
I still believe that I did the honourable thing by not leaking this into the open. I trusted the Public Protector to be the appropriate mechanism to ventilate concerns and restore public confidence.
Perhaps in a moment of rage I allowed myself to lose objectivity; that is human, not a conspiracy. At best it is faithfulness to a fault and perhaps, too much love for country.
I try to live with integrity and moral rectitude. Perhaps I expect too much of myself and our leaders.
I will probably be made to pay for this throughout my life and career, but I also have no appetite to live in a corrupt and putrid society.
I confirm that I lodged this complaint in 2016. At the time I served in the Office of then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. He inherited my service from Pres. Motlanthe and it is the same with incumbent Dep. President Mabuza.
I have never disclosed or discussed my complaint with them, there was no need, this was a protected disclosure that had nothing to do with them. I was on a frolic of my own.
For the sake of transparency, I have attached all my interactions with the Public Protector.
I now consider this matter to before the relevant state institutions and I will not make further statements in this regard.
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