Spat between Minister Gordhan, Wits students a sign of frustration and anger in SA: Analyst

Political Analyst Levy Ndou says Thursday’s spat between Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Wits University students is a sign that there is frustration and anger in South Africa.

He says as the African National Congress (ANC) National Conference fast approaches, tensions will be common and will spill over to the government, which is under the ANC.

Load shedding and fuel price increases – leading to higher food prices are just some of the things that are causing frustration among the citizens.

Pravin Gordhan was met with hostility from Wits University students, following his lecture on good governance organised by the institution’s School of Governance.

They demanded that he must take responsibility for the developments at the many State-Owned Entities in the country.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was the featured speaker for the public lecture hosted by the Wits School of Governance. During the question and answer session, tensions ran high. Students expressed their frustration over the fact that Gordhan is talking about good governance, yet the country’s State-Owned Entities are in a chaotic state.

Students demanded that he must take full responsibility for what is happening at the country’s SOEs.

One of the students asks, “Minister, why did you appoint Andre de Ryter at Eskom, even when you know that he came from NASFAS and he collapsed that company? And today, he is giving us un-ending load shedding.”

Another student says, “Allow us to debate. We are not monkeys here. We can think. Most of us are graduates here – we have degrees.”

Spat between Public Enterprises Minister and Wits University students a sign of anger and frustration in SA: Levy Ndou

Gordhan stands his ground

But Gordhan didn’t back down. He accused the students of being an organised click, seeking to disrupt progress in South Africa.

“I came here to have a discussion with you. You have come here as an organised click in order to disrupt. You are the paid servants of the people I’m talking about, people who want corruption to continue. You, all of you speak the same language. You are not going to intimidate us,” says Minister Gordhan.

Political Analyst Levy Ndou says the road to the 55th National Conference of the ANC is now in full swing, therefore tensions will be a common thing.

“It is quite normal that, as we move to the ANC’s Elective  Conference – there will be tensions, especially among those who have the interest to occupy positions in the party. And of course, those who are for and against certain leaders – you would observe a certain situation where some who are approving of certain leaders and some will show signs of disapproval. And I think it is also a moment where ordinary citizens would also be able to express themselves, whether they are happy or unhappy with the performance of certain individuals in the ANC. and they are going express it in many different ways like what we saw at Wits.”

Gordhan is just the latest minister to face hostility during a public appearance. This week, Police Minister Bheki Cele was rejected by locals, during an Imbizo held in Cape Town. And during the May day celebrations in the North West, President Cyril Ramaphosa had to leave the event after workers refused to allow him to address them.

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