President Cyril Ramaphosa has castigated Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema for his “extraordinary attack” on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
During his response to the Presidency’s Budget Vote on Wednesday in Parliament, Malema launched a blistering tirade against Gordhan, accusing him of undermining the Public Protector.
However, Ramaphosa came to Gordhan’s defence during his reply to the debate on the Presidency Budget Vote on Thursday afternoon.
The extraordinary attack by Hon. Malema on Minister Gordhan requires a response.
It is a fundamental tenet of our democratic constitutional order that no person, no matter what position they hold, is above the law.President Cyril Ramaphosa
Equal before the law
The president emphasised that no person is above scrutiny and that everyone must answer for their actions, including himself and Gordhan.
Nevertheless, he stressed that everyone is equal before the law and must have legal recourse when they feel aggrieved. Such persons must be allowed to enforce their rights, he added.
The president went on to strongly vouch for Gordhan’s character.
I’m in no position, Hon. Malema, to express a view on the findings that the Public Protector has made against Minister Gordhan.
But I can express a view on the character of the minister and the contribution he has made to the liberation of our country.
I have appointed him to a critical and demanding position in Cabinet because I know him to be a person of commitment and integrity.President Cyril Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa vouches for Gordhan
President Ramaphosa said Gordhan has endured extreme pressure, both under apartheid and democracy, to forsake his responsibility to the country.
If Minister Gordhan, or any member of this administration, has anything to answer for, they must be held to account without exception…
…but allow that determination to be made by an appropriate judicial institution after due process. Let the law take its course.President Cyril Ramaphosa
The president’s emphatic defence of Ramaphosa was met with some cheers from ANC MPs. However, EFF MPs remained largely quiet.