JOHANNESBURG: EFF leader Julius Malema lashed out at Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, calling him the “real president of South Africa” and accusing him of doing as he pleases.
The political party held a media briefing at its headquarters on Thursday and touched on a range of issues, including the petrol price hike, suspended South African Revenue of Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane, inquiries at the SABC, the public hearings on land and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“I became corrupt in this country the day I challenged Pravin’s appointment. I said to [former president Jacob] Zuma: ‘Why do you keep appointing minorities to the economic cluster to the exclusion of black Africans?’” Malema said.
“That day, I was declared an enemy and stupidly enough, I had my own problems of SARS and that’s where they got me,” the EFF leader added.
He was speaking about his tax troubles when SARS attempted to sequestrate him and remove him from Parliament.
“If you want to die politically, touch Pravin,” he told journalists.
He complained about journalists he claimed had organized themselves as a mob around President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gordhan. He said some freedom was given to those who criticised the incumbent, but that politicians were attacked when taking issue with Gordhan.
Reliving his past troubles, Malema questioned why he was singled out over his tax bill, while many others weren’t sought out with as much vigour.
The EFF leader also claimed SARS attempted to go after his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, following his objection to Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat being present at all committee meetings, instead of other senior African officials.
“Floyd got a tip-off that the acting SARS commissioner [Mark Kingon] had asked for commissioners to find any information on EFF leaders,” Malema alleged.
The EFF commander-in-chief said his claims against SARS were not because he was in trouble with the tax collector.
“I don’t owe SARS anything. I finished my debt with SARS. I am clean. They can’t do anything to me. I don’t want anything,” repeated Malema.
In focusing his attention on the suspended SARS commissioner, the EFF firebrand said Moyane had to go at some point, regardless of the outcomes into his inquiry.
Moyane is facing pressure to leave the revenue service. At a public hearing, current and former SARS staffers spoke of corruption thriving under his leadership.
Moyane is also expected to face a disciplinary hearing after Ramaphosa expressed a lack of confidence in him leading the tax agency.
Malema raised concern, saying it might become a case of double jeopardy if Moyane is forced to defend himself twice in the same matter. He said Moyane had to leave SARS because he defended kleptocracy.
The EFF leader also denied that the deal he struck with the tax collector when he faced sequestration was not with Moyane.
“I received no favour from Tom Moyane… But you can’ t punish him. You can’ t treat him illegally, you can’t attack him through an unfair process and expect me to keep quiet,” said the EFF leader.