NEWLY appointed Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says he is accountable to President Jacob Zuma and the ANC only — not to ratings agencies, the banks and white monopoly capital.
He has lambasted those who put rating agencies before the electorates, saying junk status is being used to force the ANC to abandon its radical socio-economic transformation policy.
Maswanganyi was speaking at an ANC gathering held to celebrate his appointment as minister at his home village of Mdavula in Malamulele, Limpopo on Saturday.
This came after two ratings agencies – Fitch and Standard & Poor’s – downgraded South African’s credit rating following the sacking of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last month, citing political tensions.
Maswanganyi has vowed to transform the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) and ensure it gives black-owned companies more construction jobs as part radical socio-economic transformation.
“I will take a mandate from the ANC and President Zuma. I only have one boss, who is President Zuma,” Maswanganyi said to loud cheers from the hundreds of people who packed the local stadium.
“I don’t account to the rating agencies. I don’t account to the banks. I don’t account to white monopoly capital. I account to the electorates.”
He added: “When there is a problem, people think ratings agencies come before the electorates. They say ‘we will give you junk status’. Junk status is only felt by those who have money and the banks. “The people of Mdavula don’t even know what junk status is, because they get their grants on the first, second and third day of the month.”
Organised by his Jacob Zuma branch, the function was attended by MPs, MECs, provincial and regional ANC leaders, mayors, councillors and traditional leaders.
This included Limpopo COGHTA MEC Makoma Makhurupetje, her Health counterpart Dr Phophi Ramathuba, former Limpopo Premier and ANC MP Cassel Mathale and Polokwane Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng.
Maswanganyi, a member of the Limpopo ANC provincial executive committee, says President Zuma has been targeted by regime change agents because of his push for radical socio-economic transformation.
“There is a programme to effect regime change in South Africa. The same thing they have done in the Arab World, what they have tried to do in Zimbabwe…what they have done in Brazil when they removed President [Dilma] Rousseff for no apparent reason,” said Maswanganyi.
“When President Zuma leaves, if you fool yourself that someone else will take over, they will go and search for another story to remove that person. “The problem is not Zuma; it’s not anybody else; it’s the ANC,” he added.
The ANC is talking about radical socioeconomic transformation. If you ever talk about that little term, you are no longer wanted in South Africa. You must listen to what the banks want. That’s when they will embrace you.”
In what could be construed as an attack on Gordhan and his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas, Maswanganyi slammed those who called press conferences to criticise Zuma for redeploying them or use memorial services to insult other leaders.
He says being minister or president is not a right but an honour and privilege.
“When we are deployed, as it is the case with me now, what we need to understand is that there is redeployment and withdrawal,” he said.
“When they say, ‘it’s over’. You go home. “Don’t go around calling press conferences. There is this new tendency of using funerals to insult other people. You find that at a funeral, the discussion is about things other than the deceased. That’s wrong.”
After being fired, Gordhan called a press conference where he rubbished the reasons given for his sacking, adding that “our souls are not for sale”.
He also said he had not applied for the job but was offered it owing to the “blunders” of December 2015 when Nhlanhla Nene was removed as finance minister, a move which cost the economy billions.
Maswanganyi says one of his priorities is to transform SANRAL.
As long as the state-owned company dishes roads construction jobs to a few five white-owned companies, he says, it defeats the purpose of the liberation struggle.
“When we talk about those who build roads, it can’t always be five companies here in South Africa.
Otherwise what we were fighting for? We will transform that SANRAL.
At the end of this term, we want our people to own companies like Grinaker LTA and Murray and Roberts.”
He laments that despite the transport industry being the heartbeat of the economy, “it’s still dominated by whites.” “We must ensure that our own black people get into the mainstream economy. We must talk about land expropriation. “If land is not returned, we would not have done anything as ANC,” he stressed.