OPINION: Gigaba has failed to tell the truth

Last Wednesday the Economic Freedom Fighters once again protested loudly and walked out of parliament.

ACCUSED OF CRIME: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba during his medium-term budget speech in parliament on Wednesday Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

They said Malusi Gigaba, President Jacob Zuma’s finance minister, had no right to address parliament.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu was forthright: “South Africa is in crisis because of Mr Gigaba, who handed over state-owned companies to the Guptas. And we are collaborating in crime if we allow him to address this parliament about money.”

The EFF did not receive much media attention for their stance, but for what it is worth I want to hug and kiss them for what they said and did.

The protest underlines a simple truth: those who invented, enabled, implemented and benefited from state capture must not think we are unaware of their actions.

The EFF knows what Gigaba has done to this economy and the party won’t shut up about it.

We should all be like the EFF.

When he finally got to deliver his first medium-term budget speech Gigaba said: “It is not in the public interest, nor is it in the interest of government, to sugar-coat the state of our economy and the challenges we are facing.

“We must also not lie about what has brought us to the dire state we are in today.”

So why are we here? Why didn’t South Africans and the world believe Gigaba when he spoke?

Shivambu said that Gigaba “handed state-owned companies to the Guptas”.

Is he right?

Think back to just two weeks ago in parliament, when former Eskom CEO Brian Dames said he was asked by Gigaba’s then legal adviser at the Ministry of Public Enterprises‚ Siyabonga Mahlangu‚ to “see some people”.

This was back in 2012. He believes one of the individuals was a Gupta brother.

He said the discussion had included a request for a coal contract at a power station that did not require more coal.

Go back to March 2013 when the Sunday Times published a story saying fired South African Airways CEO Vuyisile Kona was invited to the Guptas’ Saxonwold, Johannesburg, home on October 29 2012 by the very same Mahlangu – describing him as “special counsel and adviser” to Gigaba.

Also present at the 40-minute meeting were the son of President Jacob Zuma, Duduzane Zuma, and Tshepiso Magashule, a son of Free State premier Ace Magashule.

The newspaper wrote: “Upon arrival at the meeting, Mahlangu introduced Kona to ‘our brother’, Tony Gupta.

Then Gupta allegedly told him they were ‘brothers’, that ‘times were tough’ and there was R100000 available for him. Kona asked what for and told Gupta he did not need the money. Gupta allegedly upped the offer to R500000.

“Kona…said ‘no’ and left.”

Every crook needs a bag man – a person who does the dirty work, collects the bribes. Zuma’s bag man is his son, Duduzane.

In Gigaba’s case he needs to tell us whether Mahlangu was his bag man or not. He has not taken us into his confidence. Instead, he wants us to go on as if he is a credible minister of finance.

In the case of Eskom, for example, Gigaba told journalists on Wednesday that “I don’t think we will be able to bail Eskom out if anything went wrong. That is why I am saying that the appointment of a new board is an absolute, urgent, necessity”.

This from the man on whose watch credible boards at SAA and Eskom were destabilised, undermined and then disposed of to install the likes of the disastrous Ben Ngubane at Eskom and Dudu Myeni at SAA.

This from the man who is in the middle of destabilising the board of the “crown jewel”, the Public Investment Corporation.

The EFF did us all a favour on Wednesday.

It reminded us that we are in the mess we are in because of people like Gigaba and that, crucially, they have failed to speak clearly and truthfully to South Africans about what they did for Jacob Zuma’s criminal enterprise.

The EFF does not have a short memory. Neither should we.

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