Critical moment as Motsoaledi publicly supports Gordhan

JOHANNESBURG, TUESDAY 18th OCTOBER – The Sunday Times on Sunday quoted Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Deputy Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla expressing their unequivocal support for Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan. By publically expressing their support for Gordhan, Motsoaledi and Phaahla have taken an important and principled stance against corruption and state capture. TAC applauds Minister Motsoaledi and Deputy Minister Phaahla’s principled decision.

The National Prosecuting Authority last week charged Gordhan with fraud in relation to former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement. While legitimate charges of fraud must be taken very seriously, the charges against Gordhan are clearly vexatious and politically motivated.

While speaking out publicly in support of Gordhan may place Motsoaledi’s job as Health Minister at risk, it was nevertheless the correct and principled thing to do. If anything, it strengthens our belief that Motsoaledi must remain South Africa’s Minister of Health. If he is to be dismissed, we will not accept it quietly.

For years Motsoaledi has been committed to and focused on building a better public healthcare system and turning the tide on the various epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases. In this work he has consistently been held back by the wide-spread corruption and mismanagement in most provincial public healthcare systems. We believe that until a few days ago, rightly or wrongly, he calculated that he could get more good done from within the system than from without and therefore towed the party line in matters such as Nkandla and the firing of former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. In South Africa’s current political crisis simply toeing the party line has however become unconscionable.

We have now reached a point where all Ministers, Deputy Ministers and members of the ANC NEC who have the best interest of people living and working in South Africa at heart must publicly speak out in support of Gordhan and against the wide-spread corruption and state capture that has become the hallmark of the Zuma Presidency. We are glad Motsoaledi and Phaahla followed their conscience. We urge others to do the same.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) remains independent and non-aligned to any political party. We are committed to upholding the values of the Constitution and the rule of law. We support the independence of Treasury. We are extremely concerned with the use of law and the use of state organs to settle political scores. TAC will continue to speak out against abuse of power in South Africa without fear or favour.

We oppose all forms of corruption and are calling upon the HAWKS and the NPA to direct their energy to fighting corruption in South Africa. Corruption continues to undermine and threaten our democracy. Looting of state resources hampers service delivery in this country, including the provision of healthcare.

We are currently consulting with our members and with various other progressive organisations about the best way forward in this national crisis.

For more information, please contact Anele Yawa (TAC General Secretary) on 079 328 1215