OPINION

Gupta-puppet Gigaba must resign – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says in the three months finance minister has been at the helm, the country's economy has tumbled

Hands off the Treasury: Gupta-puppet Malusi Gigaba must resign!

20 July 2017

Today we are gathered here outside the headquarters of National Treasury to send a clear message to Jacob Zuma, his ANC, and the Guptas: keep your hands off of Treasury and the people’s money!

We are here to demand that the keys to Treasury be taken back from the Guptas and be given to the people of South Africa so that our money can be spent on improving the lives of all in our nation – not just the connected few.

Fellow Democrats,

Treasury is by far the most important government department in the entire country. It is responsible for managing the country’s money – our entire R1.4 trillion national budget.

Treasury decides as to how our country’s money is spent on the people – such as building houses, roads, schools, hospitals, and creating jobs.

There are thousands of good and honest employees of Treasury who work tirelessly to ensure the right amount of money is spent, by the appropriate government departments, on the needs of our people and our country. We salute you!

We are currently in a fight for the future of South Africa. This fight is between those who are benefiting from the current corrupt system and those who believe we need to change this corrupt system totally.

I am in the latter group, and there are millions of South Africans who are standing with us.

Most patriotic South Africans inside the Treasury are doing what is right and honest, despite the enormous pressure they face. They are heroes.

Keep doing what is right and you will have the respect and support of the nation!

In the right hands and under the right leadership, Treasury has the ability to change the lives of South Africans and to allocate resources to building a better, brighter and more prosperous nation.

However, the Treasury is under siege.

Just over 100 days ago, Malusi Gigaba was appointed Minister of Finance, after Jacob Zuma swiftly fired Pravin Gordhan as he refused to allow the Guptas control over the people’s money.

It has been a long standing desire of Jacob Zuma and the Guptas to take full control of the Treasury, in order to control the flow of all public money.

That’s why back in 2014, the Guptas and Zuma planned to fire then-Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, and replace him the ultimate “yes man” – the unknown Des Van Rooyen.

From the outset, Pravin Gordhan made it clear he was no one’s puppet. And this meant less stealing and corruption for Zuma and his cronies.

With their initial plan having failed – and costing the country’s economy billions of Rands in the process – the Guptas and Zuma resorted to “Plan B”: fire Pravin Gordhan and replace him with a proven loyalist: Malusi Gigaba.

And just over 100 days ago, Zuma and the Guptas carried out this plan. Malusi Gigaba was appointed Minister of Finance with a mandate from Saxonwold.

There was no explanation for the firing of Minister Gordhan and his Deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, other than to make way for a Gupta yes-man in Malusi Gigaba. Which is why the DA challenged this decision in court.

We asked the court to rule that President Zuma should give us his reasons and a record of his decision for firing Gordhan and Jonas, which it did. But, predictably, President Zuma missed the deadline, deciding to appeal the court decision instead. He is just playing for time, but he will not get away with it.

Fellow Democrats,

There is no question where Malusi Gigaba stands in the fight to change this corrupt system. Since 2010, when he was first appointed as a Minister in the Cabinet, Gigaba has been doing the Gupta’s bidding.

During Gigaba's spell as Public Enterprises Minister, his main job was to capture our country’s State Owned Entities (SOEs) for the sole benefit of the Guptas. He appointed to the boards of Eskom, Denel, Prasa, and Transnet, individuals who have been shown to be closely associated with the Gupta family. These include Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, Iqbal Sharma, Nazia Carrim, Romeo Khumalo, Mark Pamensky, Marriam Cassim, Ben Ngubane, Kuben Moodley, and Viroshni Naidoo.

This allowed Gupta-owned companies to control those SOEs and to secure many lucrative deals, ensuring the Guptas and the Zumas become rich, and the people of South Africa stay poor.

After he had shown his loyalty to the Guptas, Gigaba was moved to Home Affairs, were as Minister he rolled out the red carpet for Guptas friends, employees, business partners to easily gain citizenship and access to the country.

Gigaba fast-tracked dozens of visas to benefit Gupta businesses as they moved employees, associates and family members between South Africa, India and Dubai. And when the Guptas themselves were denied South African citizenship, guess who make sure it was granted under “exceptional circumstances” – Minister Gigupta!

This Gupta ally is now in charge of all our country’s money. We must stand united against the capture of our Treasury.

Fellow South Africans,

We cannot allow our country’s budget to be crafted at Saxonwold.

The budget is meant to be spent on developing our country, not developing Zuma’s new Dubai mansion.

It is unfair that the ANC has created a system which keeps ordinary people stuck, while only the ANC and people with connections get ahead.

What’s more is that in the three months Gigaba has been at the helm, we have seen our economy tumble. We have now been officially downgraded to “junk” status, and our unemployment rate is at a record 14-year high of 27.7%.

What is clear is that Malusi Gigaba is bad for our economy and our country, and good for the Guptas. As a Gupta appointee, we cannot allow him to be in charge of our country’s finances, and its jobs plan to create work for the 9.3 million unemployed South Africans.

We are therefore here to hand over a memorandum demanding that Malusi Gigaba resigns as Minister of Finance Minister immediately, so that we remove the hands of the Guptas from our Treasury and our money.

The DA will continue to fight tirelessly, through every mechanism possible, to free our institutions and our governments from State Capture and corruption.

Issued by Mmusi MaimaneLeader of the Democratic Alliance, 20 July 2017