Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan choked up yesterday before giving an emotional response when asked about the possibility of being arrested.
“So when you find yourself in that sort of - sorry I’m a bit emotional - you have nothing to hide or to worry about. And if they want to do anything, well then I suppose we have good courts in South Africa.”
Speaking at The Gathering event held in Midrand, Gordhan needed a moment to bring himself together when questioned by journalist Ranjeni Munusamy about how he feels about facing arrest.
“Let me tell you one thing and that is that neither myself or many of the people who are accused of all sorts of things have ever stolen one cent of public money.”
In an earlier session ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, called the ongoing tensions between Gordhan, the Hawks and Sars an “irritant.”
“There are some things that come up that are a bit of an irritation when you have to deal with the issues of Sars and the Hawks, it becomes an irritation because these are intra-governmental rivalries that must be managed backstage. We shouldn’t be seeing all of that.”
Mkhize was responding to questions surrounding whether or not South Africa would experience another “shock” in the coming year, referring to the firing of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and the subsequent appointment and recall of Des van Rooyen last December.
“There is nothing in my mind that makes me feel that we should be having any reason to be shocked ... You must admit that while that may have been shocking, nobody really expected or could anticipate the level of the reaction from the market but it was corrected in a short space of time. If you didn’t anticipate it accurately then you correct it as soon as you find out.”
Mkhize then called for the ANC to rally around Gordhan.
“He comes from the same party so I think that we need to give him a bit more support and not continue to create a kind of schism because the budget the minister presented, he had the support from the ANC, from the president and from his cabinet and without it you can’t implement it. That is the role we have to play to ensure there is stability around everybody.”
Gordhan used his initial address to calm South Africans, telling the country not to be “depressed”. He said that even though strict measures will be put in place, the economy is on the right track.
Gordhan emphasised that the recovery of the economy required all South Africans to play their part.
“The public must make as much noise as possible to hold us accountable because that is what democracy is about. Hold us accountable where we make mistakes.
“If you as the public goes to sleep and the media go to sleep then others will have fun.”