Jean-Jacques Cornish

Pravin Gordhan says he’ll die to save South Africa from thieves

South Africa skirts economic meltdown as President Jacob Zuma’s allies moving yet again to neutralise Pravin Gordhan, the finance minister made a dramatic vow: that he is prepared to die to save the country from those trying to loot the treasury.

The country’s prosecution service denies media reports that it’s about to charge Gordhan with corruption.

Before heading abroad for a fortnight, Zuma issued a statement saying he’s not empowered to stop investigations against the finance minister.

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Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was in defiant mood when he addressed his staff on Friday.

Sources in the meeting behind closed doors said Gordhan warned them not to be surprised if he was sacked.

He said he’d spent years risking his life fighting apartheid and he was once again prepared to die to block thieves trying to access public funds.

He vowed not to stop investigating illegal state contracts.

Many of these have involved companies belonging to the Gupta family, who used their improperly  close relationship with Zuma to influence government appointments and policies.

The Guptas gave notice at the weekend that they’re selling up their business interests in South Africa and quitting the country by the end of the year.

Growing numbers senior ANC members and their ruling alliance partners the SA Communist Party warn that persecuting Gordhan risks driving the currency down to unprecedented levels and watching South Africa be downgraded to junk status by international  credit ratings agencies.

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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.