Kim Heller: Media and political strategist

Lead Opinion

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is no super-hero

Through the ages, childhood storybooks have charmed our imagination with lavish tales of noble battles by valiant heroes against wicked villains, all in the name of the largely invisible but invincible ‘Greater Good’. Inevitably, as is the craft of fictitious tales, the fearless hero emerges triumphant and the sinful scoundrel comes to a bloody end, to the collective delight of all those who believe in the fairy-tale of justice.


 It is not always so easy in real life to separate villain from super-hero, victim from perpetuator, capturer from captured. 



In the tragi-drama that is unfolding in South Africa in real time, storytellers would have us believe that Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s Finance Minister, is a super-hero, whose mission is to save South Africa from state capture.


 This is story-telling at its very best. Hand-crafted with considerable care to silence widespread allegations of the Finance Minister’s involvement in an illegally established “rogue unit” within SARS, his hurried and costly dismissal of the CIEX report into apartheid-era corruption, and his prized stake in blue-chip JSE listed companies, in pivotal sectors of the economy, currently in the care-take of his Ministry.  



In what can only be described as a masterstroke script of mainstream media, the portraiture of Gordhan as a man of unquestionable moral standing is presented with an unwavering confidence and consistency, which is hungrily consumed, without much discretion, or caution, by a captive anti-Zuma audience, both locally and internationally.


The story of how Gordhan, and other fellow ANC stalwarts, found their way into the exclusive T-junctions of white power where few black South Africans venture even pedestrianly, is never penned in mainstream media. The un-gentlemanlike tales of rapture and capture of politicians in the Stellenbosch Shebeen are never inked as Sunday press headlines.


Whilst the integrity of the Finance Minister is crafted with exquisite finesse by the country’s finest editors, these very scriptwriters cast the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma as a serial villain, with an avaricious appetite for corruption and deception, and he is typically caricatured as an unworthy and undignified President. And as the President’s amplifies his voice on radical economic transformation and land return, attacks against him intensify.  



Yesterday the Save South Africa ‘movement’ released a statement on President Zuma’s decision to recall the Finance Minister from an international roadshow in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, which condemns the decision as ‘unbridled recklessness’ by Zuma. Save South Africa also describe Zuma’s actions, in the ‘aftermath of a weakened’ rand as ‘economic sabotage’. An explosive statement, indeed, from this civil movement that has yet to condemn the economic plunder and sabotage of black South Africans by white colonialists who stole land and wealth to build their own fortunes, or support any call for radical economic transformation. 

I am hardly a Zuma supporter but I object to how oganisations such as Save South Africa protect Gordhan in a spider-web of highly processed and manufactured spin-doctored civil outrage, under the auspices of an anti-corruption, anti-State Capture mission.  It is disingenuous and dishonest. I have said it before, if Save South Africa was serious about State Capture or were true anti-corruption fighters, they would have marched against white domination of the economy as well as structural racism and inequality, with the same zeal they have marched against Zuma. But there is no appetite for such. Pastor Xola Skosana refers to ‘Save South Africa’ as the new mantra of whites, which he translates as ‘save our way of life, built on stolen wealth’. These lobbying clubs cannot possibly be taken seriously until they call for land return and radical economic transformation.

A battle is underway. It is between those who want South Africa to remain in the clutch of white power and those who are fighting to free South from white domination.  How this story gets told to our future generations of South African children, and who is cast as the hero will depend entirely on who wins this war.


Kim Heller is a media and political strategist and an outspoken advocate for economic transformation in South Africa.

This column appeared earlier today in

One thought on “Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is no super-hero

  1. Yes Kim, we all read Steve Motale’s letter to the presidency. So are you trying to impress him by rewriting it or do you think if it came from a white voice – your voice – it is more powerful?

    As an aside: Weekly Xpose, please change the title of this writer to that of a political commentator. She is not a strategist. By definition, a strategist is a person skilled in planning action or policy, especially in war or politics. Kim has never once suggested a strategy or a way forward for the South African people that has not been confined to general radicalist and ethnic nationalist rhetoric. Thus she remains a commentator, albeit a bias one. A strategist is a planner who suggests solutions.

    Kim, strategise or redefine yourself. Please.

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