The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation condemns EFF leader Julius Malema’s attack on Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan.
Malema was speaking at a protest outside the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Tuesday when he compared Gordhan to a “dog” that was being handled by “white monopoly capital”. He urged his supporters to be prepared for “casualties” in a “war” being fought against Gordhan. He also accused the Minister of having a hatred for black people.
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton, said that Malema’s statements were “inflammatory and reckless”. He added that the racialised nature of the attack was “deeply worrying”.
“We should be questioning why the EFF chooses to cast aspersions on Gordhan’s integrity on public platforms using language that is highly inflammatory. What is the “loss of life” that Malema is claiming may occur in his “fight” with Gordhan – whose life may be lost, how and why? If Malema indeed has information that points to the possibility of “casualties” in this purported “fight”, should he not be taking the matter to the relevant authorities to avert such a scenario?” Balton questioned.
He added, “The accusation that Gordhan ‘hates black people’ and stifles black excellence is not only false, but in context of Malema’s inflammatory speech, and the party’s repeated anti-Indian statements in the past, is a cause for deep concern.
“When radio DJ Sasha Martinengo used the term ‘monkey’ in an attempt to dehumanise Malema, we took great offense and condemned it. In this instance, while it may not be the term ‘monkey’ that is being used against Gordhan, the term ‘dog’ similarly seeks to dehumanise. History has shown us just how dangerous dehumanisation can be – take for instance the Rwandan genocide in which Tutsis were regarded as nothing more then ‘cockroaches’. So calling someone a dog, in the context of ‘warring’ with them, can have very serious consequences.”
Balton further criticised the EFF for continuing to try and paint Gordhan as being part of the Gupta family’s ploys in the state capture project. “Gordhan has been the very antithesis of state capture. If the Guptas had come to symbolise the capture of the state, then Gordhan was amongst those who represented state integrity. Despite the immense political pressure he came under, he was amongst a dedicated group of public representatives who repeatedly shielded our state coffers from those intent on looting it.
“As Gordhan himself has requested, if the EFF claims to have information against the Minister that indicates otherwise, then the party should be prepared to come before the Commission, present whatever evidence it may have and subject itself to cross examination.
“Until then, we should be questioning why the party continues running a smear campaign against someone who stood firmly against state capture when many others backed down.
“We should also be asking why Malema cast doubt on the integrity of the Commission itself. If the EFF has not yet brought its evidence before a Commission of this nature, but prefers agitating violence on the streets, we need to be questioning what are its real motives?”
“There are additional questions which need to be answered by the EFF. Are they trying to intimidate future witnesses at the Zondo Commission? Why are they so keen that society is not fully informed about the scale of state capture, and the key architects? Are they themselves going to testify about their knowledge of state capture – such as the Transnet purchase of locomotives, which they revealed at a press conference last year? Or are they merely going to limit themselves to being critics of corruption – rather than being active and responsible players in exposing it?”