Gordhan was addressing the Gandhi Memorial Lecture in Pietermaritzburg on Friday when he was ambushed by Zuma in what appeared to be a carefully planned move.
President Jacob Zuma’s defiant son Edward took his fight with Pravin Gordhan from open letters to a face-to-face confrontation when he and a group of his companions stood up and disrupted the axed finance minister’s speech in Pietermaritzburg on Friday night.
In the verbal confrontation, Zuma called Gordhan a “liar”.
Zuma, who was dressed in a dark suit and a tie, shouted: “All what you are saying you are lying. Pravin, you are lying! You are lying, you are telling people lies…you sold the country to the white men in Stellenbosch.
— Phathisa Mfuyo (@thisamfuyo) August 25, 2017
You sold the country, you sold the country. Tell people that you sold the country to Rupert, you sold this country to Rupert. You are lying, you are lying. You must come and meet me in Parliament. I will tell you the same thing.
I have always told you you are a sell-out. You are lying. Pravin you are lying. Pravin you are lying, you are lying, you are lying to these people. You are lying to these people, you are deceiving them, you are telling them a lie. You sold this country to Rupert. You sold this country to Rupert. You are a liar, you are a liar.”
This tirade continued throughout a large portion of Gordhan’s speech – and all the his companions brandished and held yellow placards reading, among other things, “#Gordhan is a #WMC Puppet” and “Who has captured you Pravin???”.
In a video clip – captured by an ANN 7 reporter – from the event, Zuma’s companions can be seen disrupting the event while police attempt to intervene.
One of the guests at the lecture Riaz Ismail of Mountain Rise said he was disgusted by Zuma’s actions.
“I respect him, he’s a state president’s son but tonight he did not behave like one and not like a responsible adult. I’m disgusted. Perhaps he had had a drink but even so you have to be civil and observe the event’s decorum. You may disrespect Mr Gordhan, but not an icon like Gandhi,” said Ismail.
However, asked for comment on Friday evening, an unperturbed Gordhan played down the incident, saying he only found out after the speech that Edward had disrupted him.
“I just found out about it. My speech went very well. The audience ignored them. The guests had told them they were not welcome at the event,” he said.
Asked if he was disturbed by the incident, an unfazed Gordhan said, “Not at all.”
Repeated attempts to reach Edward on Friday evening were unsuccessful and he did not reply to messages sent to him.
In July, Edward penned a stinging open letter attacking Gordhan and former tourism minister Derek Hanekom.
The two ministers were fired by Zuma in a midnight cabinet reshuffle in April.
Edward’s letter stated: “By being the extension of whites and white monopoly capital stooge‚ Gordhan shows us of his inferiority complex to whites but superior complex to natives‚ that whites according to him and his inner world – deserve to be accorded a perpetual status as masters‚ and an African native is unimaginative to be of higher status than any race in this country” (sic).
“This privileged boy from Sastri College shows us that he would defend whites and their appointed crumb eaters‚ the White Monopoly Capital Indunas‚ the black parasitical political stooges at all costs‚” the letter states.
The open letter jolted the SA Human Rights Commission into action and the Chapter Nine announced that it would investigate Edward for his open letter to Gordhan and Hanekom.
“The Commission finds the contents of this letter‚ in particular statements that promote hatred on the basis of race offensive and disturbing and a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression as articulated in section 16 of the Constitution,”.