Jean-Jacques Cornish

Business leaders urge President Zuma to protect his finance minister

A group of South African business leaders has called on President Jacob Zuma to intervene and stop what they call attacks on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan by the police special investigations unit known as the Hawks.

They say in an open letter to Zuma that the spat between the Hawks and Gordhan threatens to devastate the economy.

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Business Leadership South Africa president Saki Maconzoma says 18 months of work done by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and others to stave off a credit ratings downgrade to junk status has been jeopardised .

The president needs to act urgently.

If necessary he could  put the matter in the hands of the ombudsman, known here as the public protector

The letter was inked before Gordhan announced he would not present himself for questions under warning by the Hawks, who are investigating the formation of a special spy unit at the South African Revenue Service after Gordan left as taxman to become Finance Minister.

Zuma has issued a statement saying he has full confidence in Gordhan but he doesn’t have the power to stop the Hawks investigation.

Civil society members were at the Hawks headquarters in Pretoria yesterday (Thursday) when three of Gordhan’s colleagues made warning statements.

Their lawyer said no charges were preferred.

Former Constitutional Court judge Johan Kriegler says there’s not a shred of evidence against Gordhan

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.