ANC could lose 2019 polls: Ousted Indian-origin Minister

Indo Asian News Service

Johannesburg, April 28 (IANS) Former South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has said that if the current state of affairs continue, the African National Congress (ANC) will lose power in 2019.

"Many of us are extremely worried that if we continue as we are in the ANC‚ we are likely to lose the 2019 elections‚" Gordhan, who is of Indian origin, told CNN on Thursday.

Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were axed last month in President Jacob Zuma's controversial Cabinet reshuffle. Gordhan was sacked over allegations that he held a secret meeting abroad in a bid to undermine South Africa and its economy.

"If we, like any business organisation or political organisation, fail to muster the right leadership, stick by the right kind of values and do the right thing... then of course we will, as an organisation, fail."

Gordhan -- widely seen as a bulwark against government corruption in South Africa -- also appeared to back deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma, South Africa's News 24 reported.

"Ramaphosa has been extremely brave. He has spoken truth to power at difficult times," said Gordhan.

"He has demonstrated that he is a leader of great mettle that would serve South Africa well into the future."

Gordhan also came out in support of a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of "state capture" by the controversial Gupta family and Zuma's benefactors as recommended by former public protector Thuli Madonsela in her State of Capture report.

He said such a commission headed by an independent judge would "clear the air" on allegations of state capture.

Asked if Zuma was a good leader, Gordhan said South Africa had a culture of "collective leadership".

Zuma, 75, is due to step down as head of the ANC in December and as President ahead of the 2019 general election.

Among many corruption scandals, he has been accused of being in the sway of the wealthy Indian-South African Gupta family, allegedly granting them influence over government appointments and contracts.

His midnight cabinet reshuffle last month unleashed a rebellion within the ANC with senior party figures, including Ramaphosa, speaking out against Gordhan's sacking.