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Zuma shows nothing but disdain for the constitution: Sipho Pityana

President Jacob Zuma was roasted yesterday and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, tore a strip off the Hawks for their bull-in-a-china-shop handling of the Pravin Gordhan case

At the funeral of former Eastern Cape premier Makhenkesi Stofile, at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Ramaphosa said he had full confidence in Gordhan, as Zuma himself has claimed.

But he also said: “Whatever the agencies of government must do, they must do it in a way that does not disturb our economy, that does not demonstrate to our people that we are a government at war with itself.”

Ramaphosa was at the funeral representing Zuma, who is out of the country.

Gordhan – who was among those at the funeral – and several other former SA Revenue Service officials are facing an investigation into their actions in respect of a now defunct “rogue” intelligence unit set up by SARS almost a decade ago.

Gordhan had been ordered to present himself at the Hawks’ headquarters in Pretoria yesterday but did not.

Also among the mourners were former president Kgalema Motlanthe, cabinet ministers and ANC leaders.

But the funeral turned into a political event and Zuma was heavily criticised by former foreign affairs director-general and businessman Sipho Pityana, who did not mince his words. He called on Zuma to quit.

At the funeral of former Eastern Cape premier Makhenkesi Stofile, at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Ramaphosa said he had full confidence in Gordhan, as Zuma himself has claimed.

But he also said: “Whatever the agencies of government must do, they must do it in a way that does not disturb our economy, that does not demonstrate to our people that we are a government at war with itself.”

Ramaphosa was at the funeral representing Zuma, who is out of the country.

Gordhan – who was among those at the funeral – and several other former SA Revenue Service officials are facing an investigation into their actions in respect of a now defunct “rogue” intelligence unit set up by SARS almost a decade ago.

Gordhan had been ordered to present himself at the Hawks’ headquarters in Pretoria yesterday but did not.

Also among the mourners were former president Kgalema Motlanthe, cabinet ministers and ANC leaders.

But the funeral turned into a political event and Zuma was heavily criticised by former foreign affairs director-general and businessman Sipho Pityana, who did not mince his words. He called on Zuma to quit.

Pityana told the capacity crowd at the 5000-seater university sports complex that Stofile had been disappointed by Zuma’s leadership.

“Our setbacks are self-inflicted. We’ve ceded our moral high ground to our opponents. We say we are a party for the constitution … but many doubt it because we give them reason to do so.

“No less a person than the president of the country takes every opportunity to show nothing but disdain for the constitution,” said Pityana.

He made reference to Zuma’s multimillion-rand Nkandla home, saying it was an “extravaganza” and that Stofile’s home was a “humble abode … not a palace in a sea of poverty”.

Stofile, said Pityana, respected the law and the courts. He told of when Stofile was accused of corruption and took the report against him to judicial review – and the high court cleared him.

“That’s what you do when you respect public office . you don’t, when you’re called to account, plunge parliament into chaos . [call] constitutional bodies like the public protector enemies of the people when they are not.

“When the Constitutional Court makes a finding that you broke