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Mthembu says Gordhan being targeted by EFF for cleaning up SOEs

This came after EFF leader Julius Malema attacked Ramaphosa for what he called 'tendencies' to defy the office of the Public Protector by “protecting” Gordhan.

FILE: Jackson Mthembu. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu hit back at the Economic Freedom Fighters in defence of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

This came after EFF leader Julius Malema attacked Ramaphosa for what he called “tendencies” to defy the office of the Public Protector by “protecting” Gordhan.

Malema also derided Gordhan as a corrupt individual, saying the EFF was not scared of him and would "take him on toe-to-toe”.

Mthembu said the EFF had a deep-seated hatred for Indian compatriots. He told them they were racist. The fightback unfolded during debate on Ramaphosa’s Presidency budget vote in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

But he also gave other reasons for what he called the party’s “anarchic pursuit” of Pravin Gordhan. “President, you sent minister Pravin to go and clean out our state-owned entities. I can assure you that in his attempts to clean up SOEs, he stepped on some toes of EFF cronies.”

Mthembu also referred to allegations that the EFF had been funded from the proceeds of the illegal cigarette trade.

“And it’s these friends who are being pursued by our tax collection agency and now Pravin becomes a scapegoat. Honourable president, do not be deterred by these howlers.”