Cape Town – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged in Parliament on Wednesday that the charges the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan were problematic.
“Especially the way in which this was done. But the withdrawal of these charges now gives us an opportunity to rebuild confidence in our economy and our institutions.”
Ramaphosa further acknowledged that “contradictory public statements” could have led to the belief of a lack of coherence in government.
“This is something our social partners have also raised – they said they’re concerned that different institutions seemed to be in conflict with each other.”
Ramaphosa was responding to a question from Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, who wanted to know the causes of the “perceived war” within government.
Ramaphosa said in September at a National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) summit held in Boksburg that there was an impression of a lack of coherence within government and institutions, which were seen to be in a state of “open conflict”.
In Wednesday’s parliamentary sitting, Ramaphosa said the opposition also makes a “concerted effort to accentuate the slightest hint of disagreement in government”, but he also admitted that certain events “have given rise to such concerns”.
“There have been contradictory public statements in the public arena and heated disagreements between state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and between SOEs and government departments. And we have resolved some of these,” Ramaphosa said.
He emphasised that government retains its confidence in the criminal judicial system. “The situation requires all of us to demonstrate unity in defence of our constitutional values, the integrity of our legal system and setting South Africa on a path of sustainable growth.
'Billions of billions' in investment
On a separate matter, Ramaphosa said "investors are flocking to South Africa’s doors and they’re bringing billions and billions of rand”.
He was responding to a question from Inkatha Freedom Party MP Jan Esterhuizen, who asked him if the National Development Plan - South Africa’s “blueprint for economic growth” - was “floundering".
Ramaphosa said the NDP is still intact and that “A-class” investors were bringing billions of rand into South Africa. "They keep coming to South Africa to invest. We have blue-chip countries who say they invest here because they have great confidence in South Africa.
"Our policies have not been the type that have driven businesses away. The fact that we continue to attract big German companies, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkwagen, show that we’re doing something right. Only those with eyes can see something good is being done in South Africa.”