Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan has vowed that the National Treasury will not back down from its efforts to investigate the Guptas or anyone else who might be involved in corruption.
An unmoved Gordhan told MPs in the National Assembly on Wednesday that investigations on irregularities and corruption were a non-negotiable mandate provided for by the constitution.
The finance minister also threw down the gauntlet to Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe by backing chief procurement officer Kenneth Brown, who had labelled Molefe a liar.
Molefe had said that Eskom had been co-operating with the Treasury’s investigation into the Gupta-owned Tegeta’s coal contracts. This was before Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown intervened last week, instructing Eskom to hand over the Gupta-related documents to the Treasury.
Gordhan was resolute in his stance that the Treasury would not be deterred in its efforts to probe corruption, regardless of who the culprits were or where the attacks directed at him emanated from.
He said section 127 of the constitution and chapter 13 mandated the Treasury to conduct investigations.
“These constitutional obligations make the National Treasury the target of certain individuals,” said Gordhan.
Gordhan emphasised that the duty of the Treasury was to ensure that decisions taken by the government and state-owned enterprises were in compliance with the law.
Gordhan urged South Africans to stop obsessing about the Guptas and rather focus on job creation and attracting investment.
“As South Africans, we have to ask why we spend such a lot of time discussing one family’s role in this country,” he said.
“Why do we not ask how we are going to create jobs and more investment rather than if you are pro-Gupta or anti-Gupta. We need to put the national interest first,” he said.
Noting that the economic climate was not immune from political influence as there would be a “mini crisis from time to time”, he said South Africa’s regulatory systems were strong enough to ensure “we can move beyond them”, he concluded.