Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has criticised those sitting on the fence and allowing state capture to continue crippling the country’s economy.

Gordhan was giving a speech during a University of Johannesburg lecture on radical economic transformation and white monopoly capital on Wednesday.

“We have too many fence sitters at the moment in all organisations,” he said.

Gordhan made an appeal to all South Africans to stand against state capture in spite of ambitions to make small government deals or tenders.

He cautioned that should South Africans allow the rot that is state capture to continue, “we are going to slump into a 10-year disaster”.

He said it will take the economy years to recover from state capture.

“It’s going to take us five to ten years to recover from the disaster we are heading towards. It’s very important that as South Africans we do not only become informed, but we become actively involved,” he added.

Gordhan commended intellectuals and civil society for exposing state capture, saying that they allowed the country to understand it and be informed.

Gordhan and several ministers, including his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas, were ousted by President Jacob Zuma during a late night Cabinet reshuffle at the end of March.

He has since spoken out against state capture and Zuma’s close associates, the Guptas.


Wits University business school senior lecturer Lumkile Mondi said there was a silent coup that was taking over the state.

“What is very important for all of you here is to understand there is a silent coup. Our state is being looted for private enrichment.”

He encouraged those in attendance to start lobbying their MPs to make a decision and vote with their conscience on August 8, during the vote of no confidence against Zuma.

Jonas said the country was a capital for corruption and state capture, adding that state-owned enterprises were being used to launder money and for racketeering.

He said that most SOEs are at the centre of money racketeering.

“South Africa is facing its defining moment both politically and economically… We are increasingly becoming a capital of corruption and state capture,” he said.

The speeches by the economic gurus were however met with mixed emotions by attendees and students.


Some students shouted that Gordhan and Jonas were sell-outs. During the question and answer session, students dressed in EFF colours and some holding ANC flags sang songs directed at Gordhan, asking what Zuma had done.

The students then gathered at the door of the auditorium, drowning out Gordhan while he was speaking. The lecture was then abruptly ended by the organisers.