‘Zuma, Gordhan war not ending soon’
Underscoring the fact that the lingering feud between South African President, Jacob Zuma and his powerful Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan is not ending soon, a new flank has been opened in the battle to control the South African treasury.
In the recent offensive, fresh pressure is being brought to kick out the nation’s Procurement Tzar Kenneth Brown from office.
The centralised Procurement Office controls as much as 500 billion rand in annual State spending, ensuring that whoever is on the saddle has a lot of leeway in the management and disbursement of the rainbow nation’s resources.
With Brown being linked to Gordhan, Zuma ally, Mzanele “Jimmy” Manyi has already been linked to a campaign to discredit him, a first step to provoking his removal.
But seeing this as a critical battle that it must win, the Gordhan camp is fighting back, and has pushed back the ball to Manyi’s court as part of a determined move to save Brown.
it’s official response reads:
‘The National Treasury notes the allegations made by Mr Mzwanele Manyi and his Decolonisation Foundation against the Chief Procurement Officer on SABC recently. Given the commitment of National Treasury to act on any forms of impropriety, we view these allegations in a very serious light, as we would against any official of the National Treasury.
National Treasury as an institution charged with the responsibility of overseeing public finances in the interest of our country, strives to do so with integrity, proper and sound governance at all levels. National Treasury will institute a process to determine the veracity of these allegations with a view to take appropriate steps. However, such process requires that those in possession of relevant information provide it. In this regard, the National Treasury has written to Mzwanele Manyi and his Decolonization Foundation as well as Lt General Ntlemeza (Head of Hawks) to get the purported dossier that supports these allegations.
National Treasury hopes that Mr Manyi is raising this matter in good faith and in accordance with laws like The Protection of Personal Information Act. We also note that in reporting this matter to the law enforcement authorities, he at the same time saw it fit to go public with information that has not been tested and by doing so may be implicating an innocent person. National Treasury hopes that, this is not a deliberate attempt to sow seeds of suspicion on the integrity of the National Treasury, and casting aspersion on the character of Mr Brown who has a longstanding record of serving the public service with great dedication.
National Treasury is committed to act on any forms of impropriety at all levels within its ranks by taking preventive action against corruption and ensuring a clean procurement system in government. This could include requiring senior executives in the National Treasury to subject themselves to independent processes of probity such as lifestyle audits, if necessary.
We also appeal to those making allegations against officials of the National Treasury to demonstrate that they too are free of ill motives to advance their narrow interests at the expense of the public interest, and have no conflicts of interest related to procurement of goods and services from the public sector.’
Commentators say that part of the reason why Brown may presently be under fire would be his rigid stance on public probity. They mention ‘the huge cost savings in extravagant travel expenses that some in government deem is their right along with their families, to enjoy at our tax payers expense’ as an example.
The last clearly has not been heard in this unfolding saga.
South African Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan