Gordhan is no holy cow, no one is

Pravin Gordhan.
Pravin Gordhan.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

It may well be just what it appears to be - a clash of personalities and not conspiracies as many are wont to make of the drama between the public protector and a member of the executive.

In the purported New Dawn after a rather stormy and cold nine-year-long night of state capture, much hope is placed in South Africa finding its footing as it seeks to do things the right way.

The founding fathers of the democratic order we all enjoy today had the foresight to build into the fabric of the new order such institutions as the office of the public protector and other chapter nine institutions.

The wisdom of having such checks and balances became clearer for all to see when we had at the seat of power a "constitutional delinquent" of an incumbent who put our acclaimed constitution through the rigours many wouldn't have imagined so soon after the godly Mandela years.

As public protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has inherited big shoes bequeathed her by Thuli Madonsela, which are near-impossible to fill. But she has a job to do that she must execute without fear, favour or prejudice.

One of the things South Africa needs to learn and appreciate is that the fight against that which is bad for the nation is not necessarily just a mere skirmish between good and evil. The line, we are afraid, is not always clear - it's given to blur time and again. The good guys today may not be what they seem and vice versa.

It is for that reason that we welcome the statement by public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan's lawyers at the weekend that he had no qualms appearing before the public protector to answer for his part in the alleged improper approval of an early pension for a receiver of revenue official when the minister served in the finance portfolio.

This matter has been bubbling for quite a while with much to-ing and fro-ing, and now Mkhwebane has finally issued a subpoena to force Gordhan to appear before the public protector. We hope this will bring closure, finally.

Also, with the minister seen to be much on the side with a steadier hold on power, his appearance before Mkhwebane will only strengthen the system and prove there are no holy cows, and that all are indeed and in deed equal before the law.

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