Hands off Treasury
27 March 2017
Equal Education notes with deep concern the reports that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas have been ordered back to South Africa from an investment road show. We will oppose any Cabinet reshuffle that seeks to replace these honest officials with those who will do the bidding of President Zuma’s self-enriching friends.
Equal Education has often clashed with Minister Gordhan’s Treasury over policy questions. For example, we opposed the failed Youth Wage Subsidy, calling it “a very expensive government subsidy to businesses”. We have picketed Minister Gordhan’s budget speeches, year after year. At times we have given credit when due: The recent large increases in basic and higher education spending (during a tough economic period when SARS collections have declined) are to be welcomed.
However, we are clear-eyed about the difference between a Treasury with which we have policy and ideological differences and a Treasury that becomes a feeding trough for looting and corruption. Under Minister Gordhan and Deputy Minister Jonas we will continue campaigning for progressive spending policies, knowing that the Treasury is not being emptied into private pockets.
It is clear to us that Minister Gordhan and Deputy Minister Jonas have held the line on important questions of principle such as the criminality in the ongoing SASSA scandal, the unaffordable nuclear deal, the collapse of SARS as a flagship state institution, and wasteful expenditure and mismanagement in departments such as Water Affairs and Forestry and at SAA.
President Zuma has a constitutional duty to recall his numerous ministers who have proven themselves incompetent, arrogant and corrupt. Gordhan and Jonas are not among these.
We will use all means necessary to oppose a reshuffle aimed at looting our public finances.
Issued by Tshepo Motsepe, General Secretary, EE, 27 March 2017