Maponya feels Zuma justified in getting rid of Gordhan

Richard Maponya , during the celebrations of 6th anniversary of Maponya Mall in Soweto. September 2013 Photo. Antonio Muchave © Sowetan
Richard Maponya , during the celebrations of 6th anniversary of Maponya Mall in Soweto. September 2013 Photo. Antonio Muchave © Sowetan

Renowned entrepreneur Richard Maponya yesterday defended President Jacob Zuma's controversial cabinet reshuffling, which resulted in Pravin Gordhan being axed as finance minister.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sowetan at his home in Johannesburg's Hyde Park, the 90-year-old owner of Maponya Mall in Soweto said Gordhan was not indispensable.

"I don't know the actual fact of [Zuma] dismissing [Gordhan] but according to rumours, he was becoming a defiant person.

"When they have made a statement that they were going to be doing certain things and he would say they would not happen... That, to me, is something like defiance to the leadership," Maponya said.

He did not elaborate on what Gordhan had said would not happen.

"If you differ with your boss, then there is a problem. There isn't anybody in this world who is indispensable and I think [Gordhan] was a little bit on the wrong side."

However, Maponya conceded that Gordhan " served our country quite well but at the same time there are protocols in the organisation" .

He added that Zuma "maybe overreacted and should have pointed [admonished Gordhan] with a big finger and let him go on". But if a man is not done it once and has continuously [been] as defiant as I understand, he was also on the wrong side."

Maponya lashed out at deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC secretary- general Gwede Mantashe and party treasurer Zweli Mkhize for criticising Zuma's cabinet reshuffle decision in public.

"If they make statements such as these it creates confusion with the people and causes damage to our organisation [the ANC]," he said.

He said it was also wrong for people to criticise the Guptas' influence on political leaders and the economy but remain silent on the influence being wielded by white business.

"The boere . are just as bad as the Guptas." But he also did not mention any names.

He said white entrepreneurs were also using black people to divide black people.

The rand plummeted from R12.45 to the dollar last week to R13.60 this week after Zuma replaced Gordhan with former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, a move that drew wide criticism.

 

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