Gordhan calls on current leadership to adopt values of first MK members

The minister spoke at the memorial service of Shirish Nanabhai, who he says embodied the values of the ANC.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan at the memorial service of former Robben Island prisoner and struggle stalwart, Shirish Nanabhai on 04 April 2016. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister and African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Pravin Gordhan says South Africa's leaders need to adopt the values of the first Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) members and defend the democratic institutions that are coming under threat.

Gordhan today addressed the memorial service of Shirish Nanabhai - a former Robben Island prisoner who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for sabotaging the Riverlea railway station line in the 1960s.

Nanabhai joined the first MK units in 1962.

The MK veteran died in Lenasia last night.

Gordhan says Nanabhai represents the best of ANC comrades, and he's warned that greed is eroding the progress made since the end of apartheid.

The minister says Nanabhai and his comrades are the reference point for leaders on how to serve.

He adds that the former Robben Island prisoner embodied the values of the ANC.

"They defied, what seems to be the mantra today amongst many… that is to forget all and forget everybody else except one's self."

Gordhan says these values are needed now more than ever.

"Democratic institutions and the well-being of our people are trampled upon in the pursuit of self-aggrandisement. Today, it's not enough for one to steal R1 million, you must have R10 million; when you have R10 million, you must have R100 million."

The finance minister also says the recent Constitutional Court judgment on the powers of the Public Protector should inspire confidence in the country's institutions.

The court reaffirmed that remedial action by the Public Protector is binding and found that President Jacob Zuma broke his oath to uphold the Constitution.

Gordhan says the institutions fought for by the likes of Nanabhai and others should be protected.

"Many of these institutions are also being tested, or at least attempts are being made to influence them to do the wrong thing and instead serve selfish interests. The responsibility that those of us that are in these institutions have, is to ensure that we leave them stronger, better, morally more correct and more principled than when we found them."

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