President Jacob Zuma has poured cold water on the long rumor about a political war between him and finance Minister Pravin Gordhan saying he has no issue whatsoever with the minister and he has no plan of controlling the treasury.
In a statement released on Friday, presidency condemned what it called a “toxic narrative” by both local and foreign media on the president’s relationship with the finance minister Pravin saying such comments are ‘absurd’.
“It should be noted that the president controls all government departments including the National Treasury, as the head of government, and by virtue of the fact, he appoints ministers and they report to him. All government departments also report to the president via their respective ministers.
“It is therefore absurd to say that the president would be engaged in a struggle to control a government department that he already controls, and also when he actually controls the whole of government,” said Ngqulunga.
The released statement followed past weeks’ reports that Gordhan was close to being arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for his role in a rogue unit set up at the South African Revenue Services (SARS) while he was commissioner.
The alleged arrest of the Finance Minister which became of much concern to South Africans particularly the finance minister, was later withdrawn after the Hawks announced that the minister was innocent and would not be arrested.
The hawks were prior to its announcement, reported to be waiting for order from above for it to go ahead with the arrest of the minister.
The Presidency called on “information peddlers” to stop spreading what it called false rumours and to give the country the space to focus on uniting the nation behind the goals of reigniting growth in order to preserve and create jobs in the current difficult economic climate.
The presidency further noted that the president controls all the state’s departments as each of the department reports to him through their minister.
“It is therefore absurd to say that the president would be engaged in a struggle to control a government department that he already controls, and also when he actually controls the whole of government,” it said.
Speaking further on this, the presidency’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said the President Zuma and the finance minister Pravin have gone a long way, “they have known each other for decades. He appointed the current minister of finance – not just one, but twice and they have a good working relationship.”
To him also, the president and his government will continue to unite the nation behind the goals of reigniting growth in order to preserve and create jobs during the difficult economic climate.