Adriaan Basson

Adriaan Basson: This is the type of rogue who wants Pravin Gordhan fired

2020-01-20 06:00
Mosebenzi Zwane. (Daily Sun)

Mosebenzi Zwane. (Daily Sun)

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The battle to remove Gordhan and ultimately President Cyril Ramaphosa from office is in full swing and led by rogues like Mosebenzi Zwane, writes Adriaan Basson

On 1 August 2015, a property developer from the small Free State farming town Vrede called France Oupa Mokoena emailed the CV of Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane to Tony Gupta.

Zwane was a former teacher-turned-mayor from Vrede who had served in the provincial cabinet of then premier Ace Magashule between 2009 and 2015.

A few hours after receiving Zwane’s CV, Tony Gupta - the youngest of the Gupta brothers - emailed it to Duduzane Zuma, former president Jacob Zuma’s favourite son and proxy in the Gupta business empire.

On 2 September 2015, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte informed Parliament that a vacancy in the ANC’s benches would be filled by Zwane. On the same day, Tony Gupta received a copy of Duarte’s letter.

Three weeks later, Zuma snr unceremoniously sacked Ngoako Ramatlhodi as resources minister and replaced him with Zwane.

Two months into the job, the inexperienced and unqualified Zwane boarded a jet to Zurich in Switzerland where he and Tony Gupta persuaded Glencore to sell their Optimum coal mines to a company owned by the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma.

Eskom, then under the control of Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh and Matshela Koko, assisted the Zuptas by squeezing Glencore out of business and then handing guarantees for a coal contract to the Guptas to obtain a loan.

Why are all this relevant today? Because we have short memories.

We read that Zwane led the attack to oust Pravin Gordhan from his portfolio as public enterprises minister at the weekend’s meeting of the ANC NEC and we forget to ask, "who is Zwane again"?

And why would Zwane want Gordhan out of Cabinet?

Based on the evidence above and more, former public protector Thuli Madonsela concluded that Zwane potentially committed a crime. But he has not been charged and is emboldened enough, just less than two years after his political protector was removed from office, to challenge the status quo.

The battle to remove Gordhan and ultimately President Cyril Ramaphosa from office is in full swing and led by rogues like Mosebenzi Zwane.

Whether they will succeed or not is unclear, but there can be no more doubt that the ANC’s national general council in June will be used by the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) brigade, that includes Zwane, to bay for Ramaphosa’s blood.

What does it tell us that Zwane, who should have been in court by now, found the moral courage to challenge Gordhan’s position at a meeting of the ANC NEC? And that some of the worst characters in the state capture drama have the gall to criticise Gordhan for not fixing the mess they caused fast enough?

It is too blatant to be funny.

It tells me that the likes of Zwane no longer fear the risk of arrest or prosecution. It also tells me that they are politically better organised than a year ago and think they have a real chance of toppling Ramaphosa (and Gordhan).

It is hard to remove an ANC president mid-term, but it doesn’t mean the RET brigade won’t try their luck at the NGC, at least to have Gordhan replaced by then. The public enterprises minister wields exceptional power over the state-owned enterprises and their billions.

The RET gang and their sponsors are hungry and don’t want to see another SOE slipping away. No wonder the next battle against Gordhan will move to his choice of CEO for Transnet.

The RET brigade wants to "recapture" the ANC at the next elective conference in 2022. This is their first big move.

The next six months will determine the success of this project. Ramaphosa needs to protect Gordhan politically to continue his clean-out of the SOEs and cut the traitors from his Cabinet. It is an open secret which power-hungry ministers have thrown in their lot with the RET band.

The president has to be more aggressive in his defence of those who are trying to undo the lost 10 years under Zuma. Staying at home this weekend to defend Gordhan at the NEC was a good start.

At the same time, Ramaphosa must hope that advocate Shamila Batohi and her team will pounce on some heavyweight state capturers before it's too late. Even just one or two major arrests will lift the collective mood of the country and shut-up the likes of Zwane and Magashule.

- Basson is editor-in-chief of News24.

Read more on:    anc  |  the guptas  |  jacob zuma  |  mosebenzi zwane  |  pravin gordhan  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  state capture  |  state owned enterprises
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