By siding with the corrupt, Jacob Zuma has betrayed us all

-        We call on all concerned people to join today’s protests in Johannesburg and Cape Town
-        Join at 10am at Church Square, Pretoria and 11am at Parliament, Cape Town
 
PRETORIA, 31st MARCH 2017: The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is deeply troubled by the President’s decision to remove five Ministers and three deputy Ministers from the Cabinet including Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance of South Africa and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. We consider this decision to be grossly irresponsible and a dereliction of the President’s moral and legal duty toward all who live and work in South Africa.
 
Gordhan has been on the frontline of the fight against corruption and state capture in South Africa. The decision to remove him is not in the best interest of South Africa. The only plausible explanation for the decision is that it was taken to protect and to enable certain corrupt individuals or groups of individuals. The removal of Gordhan and Jonas, removes one of the last impediments to the unbridled looting of state coffers and opens the way for the signing of the nuclear deal which we know will bankrupt our country. Generations will pay the price for this move if we do not stop it.
 
Gordhan and Jonas have been replaced by Zuma loyalists Malusi Gigaba and Sfiso Buthelezi. Gigaba has no notable finance experience. The only plausible reason for Gigaba’s deployment as Minister of Finance is to provide the President with control over Treasury.
 
In light of the recent Constitutional Court judgment in the SASSA matter it is an insult to the people of South Africa that Bathabile Dlamini who so spectacularly failed in her duties as Minister has survived the Cabinet reshuffle. It is similarly disturbing that Fikile Mbalula, who failed as Minister of Sport and Recreation, has been appointed Minister of Police.
 
By firing Gordhan and retaining Dlamini, Zuma has ended all pretence of governing in the public interest.
 
This is not a Cabinet appointed to serve the people – it is not even a Cabinet appointed to serve the interests of the ruling party – it is a Cabinet appointed to serve only the political interests of the Gupta family, the President and his close allies.
 
With this Cabinet reshuffle a moment of truth for both the country and the ruling party has come.
It is no longer good enough to ask Zuma to “do the right thing”. It is time for all those in positions of power the in the ruling party to “do the right thing”.  
 
“Today South Africa – including ANC members – must be asking themselves critical questions in light of last night’s events. Those who defend Zuma’s actions are not being loyal to the party. They are being loyal to their bellies at the expense of their organisation,” said Anele Yawa, TAC General Secretary.
 
We call on all ANC members and leaders to take steps to recall Jacob Zuma as President of South Africa. Those in the ANC who fail to take a strong and public stance against Zuma at this time of state capture and unbridled corruption are complicit in the corruption. We will especially take note of how senior ANC leaders like Cyril Ramaphosa, Zweli Mkhize and Gwede Mantashe conduct themselves at this time. If they fail to act decisively they too will be irrevocably tainted.
 
It will require courage for ANC MPs to actively oppose the President, or to vote against him in a parliamentary vote of no confidence, but that is what is required. If our struggle heroes could spend decades in prison, then surely today’s ANC can find the courage to stand up to a President that is clearly acting against the interests of the people.
 
We have no illusions. Ultimately it is the poor who suffer most because of corruption. We have seen at first-hand how corruption and the deployment of unqualified and uncommitted ANC cadres has destroyed provincial healthcare systems in the Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. Money stolen from the state is money taken away from the delivery of services to the poor and from the development of our country. It is our healthcare, our education and our chances at decent work that Zuma and his corrupt allies are plundering.
 
For a long time, many of our members remained unwilling to criticise the current ANC government or the President. That has slowly changed over time. We now see increasing discontent bubbling up amongst our members and in our communities. We fear that this discontent could soon reach boiling point and result in violence against the state. The irresponsible looting of the state could end up having consequences far beyond what the current ANC leadership imagines.
 
While we urge all people living and working in South Africa to take to the streets and to join in publically expressing our outrage at the looting of the state, we also stress that TAC remains committed to non-violent protest.
 
We also stress that TAC is not affiliated to any political party and does not campaign for or against any political party. Some of our members are members of the ANC while some are members of other political parties. We urge all our members to put the interests of the poor ahead of party-political loyalties.
 
Finally, we thank Minister Gordhan and Deputy Minister Jonas for their principled and committed service to our country and especially to the poor. The principled leadership and resistance shown by them and others in recent years is a guiding light for the future of our hard-won democracy. We will not let that light be extinguished.
 
Yawa continued, “we must defend our Constitution. We must defend our democracy. Above all we must defend South Africa and her sons and daughters.”
 
The struggle continues.
 
 
Media queries:
 
Lotti Rutter | lotti.rutter@tac.org.za | 081 818 8493