Gordhan warns of state capture 'fightback' across govt entities

In leaked submission to Zondo commission minister says SOEs 'seriously compromised'

Gordhan warns of state capture 'fightback' across government entities

8 November 2018

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has warned of a "determined and vigorous fightback" campaign from those opposed to efforts to implement clean governance at state entities.

In his submission to the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, Gordhan says there are still elements who want the status quo of pillaging, looting and impunity to remain.

He also accuses Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane of abusing her powers to intimidate and harass him after he was summonsed to appear before of her.

Gordhan, who was fired by then president Jacob Zuma as finance minister in March 2017 and replaced by Minister Malusi Gigaba, is widely considered to have been at the forefront of government resistance to state capture.

In his sworn statement to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who is leading the state capture inquiry, he details events including his contact with the Guptas, the nuclear deal, the dismissal of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and his own dismissal from the same position.

And he refers to the toll his positions have taken on him and his family.

He identifies the "pillage" and "plunder" of the country's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) over the past decade as ground zero of capture. The assessment of damage done to SOEs over the last decade is ongoing, Gordhan says.

SOEs 'seriously compromised'

Ministers Gigaba and Lynne Brown were responsible for SOEs during that period.

Gordhan paints a grim picture of SOEs and says a lot of hard work is needed to "recapture" them.

"The work currently being done on SOEs shows that they are and were seriously compromised in terms of scale of financial losses, the undermining of good corporate governance, their operational capability and the dearth of competent and courageous leadership in the face of serious fiscal risk," he says.

It is imperative that there is accountability and consequences for events of the last decade, he states, adding that criminal charges must be pursued against individuals; those found to be responsible must be fired and looted money must be paid back.

"The real cost of state capture s the damage it has done to the institutional fabric of the state. Good people lost their jobs, families were put through trauma and vilification for standing up and the lasting impact of the past decade weakened and hollowed out our state. A culture of malfeasance was legitimised and tolerated with increasing impunity and a lack of accountability," Gordhan's statement reads.

Gordhan will appear at the Zondo commission on Thursday, November 15, 2018.