Pravin Gordhan vs the tenderpreneurs

Michael Fraser says minister is standing in way of many business deals lined up in captured state entities

Hawks vs Gordhan battle for the Purse of South Africa

16 March 2016

The battle lines are drawn, and the lines are very clear.

On the surface it would seem like it's a battle between Pravin Gordhan and the Hawks.

In my opinion the Hawks are fighting a proxy war. They have been unleashed on Pravin to discredit him to prove that he is not the best person for the Finance Minister job.

Pravin Gordhan was reappointed under duress, reluctantly, by President Jacob Zuma in December 2015, after JZ was convinced, against his will, that JZ (and the Guptas) choice, Des Van Rooyen, wasn't suitable for the position of Finance Minister.

We know how devastating the replacement of Nhlanhla Nene with Des Van Rooyen was to our economy. We are still reeling under the damage caused to our economy. The reluctant appointment of Pravin Gordhan brought some stability and relief, especially for the battered exchange rate of the Rand and financial markets.

But the problem with Pravin Gordhan for the tenderpreneurs and the captured state entities (ESKOM, SARS, SAA) is that Pravin has declared that the best interest of our country is uppermost in his heart and mind, and that he will only act accordingly.

We must remember that business deals had already been lined up in these captured entities to benefit the politically connected untouchable elite.

All this just needs a Finance Minister who will comply with the orders of the untouchable tenderpreneurs. There are strong voices in the tenderpreneur camp who do not care about the state of our economy, market sell-offs or downgrades. These are people who maybe see downgrades as a parasitic opportunity for auction sale purchases of assets. In my opinion these are the people pushing for more and more pressure to be brought on Pravin Gordhan.

Remember how JZ insisted, on Monday 22 February, just two days before Pravin Gordhan was due to deliver his Budget Speech, that Des Van Rooyen was his administrations most qualified finance minister. We also now know that at this time Pravin Gordhan also received the 27-questions-letter from the Hawks.

In the meantime the Gordhan/Hawks battle is escalating. At a time when Pravin Gordhan is trying his utmost to convince investors to remain in our country, and ratings agencies not to downgrade us to junk status, the Hawks are intensifying their demands on Pravin Gordhan, in public. 

The markets are understandably very shaky in this climate. 

The Rand is weakening. The markets are jittery, waiting for this battle to go one way or the other. And through all of this our President says/does absolutely nothing to calm the storm. 

This is much more than just a simple battle between the Hawks and Pravin Gordhan about 27 questions. 

This is essentially a battle of our government at war with itself. And any concerned citizen would rightly expect the President of our country to step in to calm matters down, for this matter to be conducted in private, in a professional manner.

But our President chooses to remain silent and anonymous in this matter. Or is he really?

Could it just maybe be that the President wants to prove that the damage to our economy in December 2015 actually had nothing to do with his firing of well-performing Nhlanhla Nene, and his replacement Des Van Rooyen?.

That our President wants to prove that Pravin Gordhan is not as good for our economy as we think? 

That Pravin Gordhan should be fired to make way for a more compliant finance minister?

So that the way can be cleared for the tenderpreneurs and captured state entities to continue their looting by removing the biggest obstacle in their destructive path: Pravin Gordhan.