Delivering the keynote address at the Ahmed Kathrada memorial service in Cape Town, Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan warned South Africa now runs the risk of losing honest people who no longer want to serve in government.
“We didn’t need the downgrade by the way, if we had just behaved ourselves, but that’s a different matter,” he said.
South Africa President Jacob Zuma sacked Gordhan in a massive reshuffle recently, and the former finance minister hit back at what he claimed was collusion between the President and the Guptas, a prominent family of businessmen who have been at odds with Gordhan.
Earlier deputy public works minister and the South African Communist Party first deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin told the service it's important to find out the real reason for the irretrievable breakdown in Zuma's relationship with Gordhan.
Gordhan said he’ll remain a committed member of the African National Congress (ANC) but stated that development should be a priority for all South Africans.
“I say all of this as an ANC cadre, I learnt my politics and hopefully some of the values and the principles of our struggle in the communist party in the ANC of the 1970s,” he said.
On March 30, President Zuma, during a meeting with the South African Communist Party (SACP) alleged that Gordhan planned to weaken his government and cited an intelligence report on how Gordhan planned to meet foreign business representatives from Russia, Iran and India to garner their support in an attempt to overthrow him. The report seems to have been authored by Zehir Omar, a close friend of the Guptas and a regular guest and analyst on Gupta-owned TV network ANN7.
Meanwhile, the former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has resigned as a member of parliament, a week after Zuma sacked him from the cabinet along with Gordhan, the African National Congress said yesterday.
He made headlines last year when he said that he had been offered the finance minister job by members of the Gupta family.