Bitter-sweet birthdays for former besties Zuma & Gordhan

While the two men are unlikely to drop each other emoticon-filled Whatsapp messages, it seems their birthdays will be action-packed.


JOHANNESBURG – Wednesday 12 April 2017 sees two of the most influential men in South Africa celebrate their birthdays: President Jacob Zuma and former Finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Now while the two men are unlikely to drop each other emoticon-filled WhatsApp messages, it seems their destiny as star-crossed politicians just keeps pulling them together.

There’s no word on how Gordhan is spending his special day now that he has a lot more time on his hands, but it’s definitely not going to be a quiet day for his former boss.

The ANC is preparing to throw its leader a big bash in Kliptown to cheer him up, as his critics continue to call for him to resign as the country’s president.

Opposition parties and their supporters have started gathering in Church Square before marching to the Union Buildings at 12pm today.

Since Gordhan’s reappointment as finance minister in December 2015, he and the president haven’t had much to agree on.

Zuma – who is Gordhan’s senior by seven years – finally got rid of the man who was allegedly seen as a stumbling block in the National Treasury during a late-night Cabinet reshuffle last month.

The president felt their relationship “was irreparable”.

The president was born in 1942 and a few years later, in 1949, the former finance minister was also born.

Now the opposition hopes the president will finally decide to give his growing base of detractors a gift on his birthday: a resignation.

Let’s say Zuma gives in and chooses to bless the country and its economy on his birthday, maybe then there would be a fat chance that Gordhan’s birthday message from the opposition would read something like: Happy Birthday Comrade Pravin Gordhan… And welcome back to the finance ministry.

But it’s no secret that Baba doesn’t like being told what to do; and the opposition’s march to the Union Buildings might be for nothing.

His message may well be: “Let them eat cake”.