‘A line in the sand for all democrats’

2016-05-26 06:00

SPEAKING at the centenary celebrations of the historic Shree Veeraboga Emperumal Temple in Tongaat at the weekend, ANC Provincial Executive Committee member Ravi Pillay threw his weight behind Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Telling the thousand-strong audience that “every generation must rise to the challenges of their time”, he praised Gordhan for defending the integrity and quality of our democracy.

His statements follow on the emphatic defence of Gordhan by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and Parliamentary Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu.

Pillay drew an analogy with the fight between good and evil that is central to the Hindu belief system.

In recent months purported attempts at state capture revolved around the real or imagined pedalling of undue influence by the immigrant Gupta family.

“In every period of tension or crisis over the past 104 years the country has always turned to the ANC for a solution whether or not it was in power at the time,” said Pillay.

Pillay added: “Throughout the 40-odd years of his activism coming through the ranks of the Natal Indian Congress, the civic movement, the UDF, the Mass Democratic Movement and the constitutional assembly project that crafted our new democracy­ Gordhan has earned a formidable standing as an uncompromising defender of the finest ideals of a democratic society upholding good governance and integrity in public office.”

He said that Gordhan is not a poster boy of the opposition but that he is firmly located within the historic and progressive traditions of the ANC.

The Tongaat audience was hailed as a community steeped in struggle where their forebears stood up to the authoritarianism of indenture on the sugar plantations.

“They rose up in the passive resistance, in the defiance campaign, in the historic 1956 Women’s March and even the Treason Trial where leaders from the local community were among the 156 accused with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and others.”

Pillay said that as we face these contemporary challenges to the integrity of our state, progressive forces were armed with the benefit of this formidable history.

“From his political stewardship of the Treasury we can be assured that Gordhan will not allow that institution to be compromised in any way.”

Pillay also said that those who have been mentored by Gordhan since the early seventies can attest that he is not one to be bullied nor threatened.

He referred to Gordhan’s statement that “somewhere in its genes the ANC is able to come up with the right answers at the right time”.

Pillay threw up the challenge that the nation must rally in defence of any external or internal threats to the integrity of our state saying that, “a line in the sand has been drawn for all democrats­”.

Selvan Chetty

African National Congress

Lower South Coast region

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