International investors are "bewildered" by attacks on President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Lord Peter Hain told Fin24 on Tuesday.
Hain also expressed concern over factionalism within the ruling party.
"The international community knew Gordhan as a fantastic finance minister and now watches him trying to grapple with the horror of state-owned enterprises due to what happened under the Zuma rule," said Hain.
In his view, the president and minister are being "vilified" as a result.
"Gordhan and Ramaphosa are being vilified by the Public Protector, by the Zuma faction in the ANC and by the EFF," he told Fin24. "It bewilders international investors that the 'good guys' are being attacked ... and the 'bad guys' swagger around at will."
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was recently interdicted from implementing remedial action against Gordhan by the Gauteng High Court. Mkhwebane has said she is disappointed in the findings of Judge Sulet Potterrill and intends to appeal the ruling.
Hope for SA
Hain, a former UK Cabinet minister, says he believes South Africa has a great future, but the country must tackle issues of poor governance.
He also warned against the dangers of factionalism within the ruling party, warning that it could scare off investors and destabilise the country. He also warned that if the president had to "watch his back" instead of focusing on solving the country's "massive challenges", the distraction would be ultimately damaging.
"What astonishes me about the faction that tries to drag Ramaphosa back and tries to get the opportunity to climb on the gravy train again is that they seem to have no regard at all for the plight of the country," Hain opined.
"SA also faces a competitive threat, yet this faction behaves as if there is not a competitive world out there, with China and India, let alone other Asian countries, leaving SA behind."
"They do not realise that every move they make is treated with dismay by the markets and by the business community. The latest numbers show record unemployment, just about zero growth and the economy teetering on edge of a credit downgrade, and this faction in the leadership presses on regardless. It is shameless. They are only interested in themselves and not in the people they are supposed to represent."
As an anti-apartheid activist and the son of anti-apartheid activists, Hain said he did not comment as "an outsider" but as someone from South Africa who cares about the country's future.
Hain is in South Africa to take part in various programmes at the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (USB-ED). He will present a module in its African Director's Programme and take part in a panel discussion on the topic of "Exploring South Africa's growth prospects under President Ramaphosa’s leadership".
He has also signed a partnership agreement between the medical school of the Nelson Mandela University and the Donald Woods Foundation, of which he is the chair, to improve training and research on primary health care in remote areas like Hobeni in the Eastern Cape.