Opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has raised alarm on the controversial Brian Molefe’s nomination into the state parliament, the party says its a ploy by the ANC to make him deputy of the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.
The party said Molefe’s appointmen will likely provide an opportunity for him to take the helm of the cash-flush PIC.
Months after Thuli Madonsela’s State capture report exposed shady dealings between the then Eskom chief executive officer Molefe and the controversial Gupta family- which led to his immediate resignation, Molefe was nominated to fill a vacancy on the ANC’s North West list, and will be sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
Molefe’s nomination became an issue for the Democratic Alliance as the party MP David Maynier said it was more likely that Molefe would be appointed as deputy minister of finance as this would provide an opportunity for him to take the helm of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). The PIC is a quasi-public investment entity with R1.8 trillion in assets.
“That would be a little like appointing an arsonist to put out a fire,” Maynier said while recalling that the DA has laid criminal charges against Molefe following the former public protector’s report.
In the same manner, the DA chief whip John Steenhuisen attacked Molefe’s nomination saying it only confirmed that the ANC did not care about fighting corruption.
Also, the Congress of the people (COPE) slammed Molefe’s deployment to Parliament, saying it’s a nefarious and dangerous move by the ANC to, among other things, have control of PIC funds.
Referring to the draft State Capture report, COPE asserted that Molefe’s deployment to Parliament has exposed “the immoral bankruptcy of the ANC and its leader.”
It is also, according to COPE, a ploy to either replace Minister Gordhan as Minister of Finance; replace the Deputy Finance Minister and thus have control of PIC funds; or to appoint him to a ‘super ministry’ having control over the Finance Ministry and the Treasury.
COPE urged all sectors of society to make their concerns known and heard on the issue, to be vigilant; and, if necessary, mobilize protests against the deployment.
Meanwhile, Molefe’s nomination into the parliament was allegedly spearheaded by some powerful players within the ruling ANC. They include:
- Ex-African National Congress (ANC) provincial chairperson China Dodovu who first blew the trumpet on the need to nominate Molefe;
- Dakota Legoete who described Molefe as a major asset for the ANC and the country;
- The ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe who is said to have sent Molefe’s name straight to parliament without following due processes;
- President Jacob Zuma who gave instructions to the North West branches to have Molefe’s name sent to parliament.
Be that as it may, the finance minister Pravin Gordhan has maintained that he would safeguard the nation’s finance in the best of his ability even if he loses his job.
Reacting to a rekindled speculation about his removal, the minister said in an interview with broadcaster eNCA on Monday, that as a “humble civil servant” he is “not indispensable”.
Like Gordhan, Mcebisi Jonas said in the same interview on Monday, that he is “ready for any eventuality” regarding his own role in the government.
“Treasury is an institution and ministers come and go, …we hope that the capacity embedded within the institution will be sustained,” he said.