Political parties welcome decision to drop charges against Gordhan

31 October 2016 - 15:31 By TMG Digital

The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday welcomed the dropping of charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The ruling party‚ however‚ had harsh words for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)‚ whose decision to charge Gordhan and and two former SA Revenue Service officials “had a negative impact on the economy and created unnecessary speculations about the real motive”. “The ANC calls on the appointing authority to engage the NPA leadership to avoid a repeat of this and to protect the independence and integrity of the NPA‚” said spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.On the minister‚ Kodwa said: “Informed by the constitutional principle of innocent until proven otherwise‚ the ANC always believed in the innocence of Comrade Pravin Gordhan‚ hence our unwavering support since fraud charges were preferred against him.“Now that the charges have been dropped‚ we must continue to build on the trajectory of economic growth as envisaged and to create jobs as outlined by … Gordhan in the recent medium-term budget policy statement.”The Democratic Alliance said National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams on Monday made “excuse after excuse for his seismic blunder” when he announced that criminal charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would be dropped.But‚ party leader Mmusi Maimane said‚ Abrahams is “ultimately responsible” for the decision to summons for Gordhan and two former SA Revenue Service officials‚ and called on President Jacob Zuma to “immediately suspend Abrahams pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office”.Gordhan was accused‚ in his previous capacity as head of SARS‚ of fraudulently approving an early retirement for then deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and re-hiring him as a consultant. Pillay and former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula were Gordhan’s co-accused.“In a long-winded press briefing this morning‚ Abrahams systematically threw everyone else under the bus‚” said Maimane.“We maintain that Abrahams initiated these charges against Gordhan for narrow political purposes‚ and now following a lack of evidence and huge public outcry‚ Abrahams has been forced to make an embarrassing about-turn‚ leaving him with egg on his face.”Abrahams had‚ on Monday‚ laid out the history and details of the case‚ but said it would be hard to obtain a “conviction without animus” – or “criminal intent” - on the part of Gordhan. He had also reportedly said in a letter to Gordhan's attorney on Monday said that after “perusal” of the matter he has decided to “overrule the decision” to prosecute the minister.Maimane said Abrahams “cannot simply say ‘we’ve made a mistake’ and proceed to withdraw the charges”.“The stakes are far too high to be making such unacceptable and irresponsible mistakes. Shaun Abrahams must be held responsible for this unacceptable blunder.”He said Zuma can suspend Shaun Abrahams “in terms of section 12(6) of the NPA Act”‚ then Parliament could “pass a resolution either to restore the NDPP to his office or to remove him finally”.“Jacob Zuma must now act decisively‚ failing which we will have no option but to believe that he is behind these malicious political antics‚” Maimane said.- TMG Digital

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day, Financial Mail or Rand Daily Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.