SACP calls for an end to harassment of Gordhan

2016-08-28 18:14

Cape Town – The South African Communist Party (SACP) wants an end to the “politically-motivated harassment” of Pravin Gordhan and has questioned the timing of the allegations against the finance minister.

“The putative charges against Comrade Gordhan are a flimsy concoction without the slightest basis in law. They are designed as a pretext to remove Comrade Gordhan from office and weaken treasury’s struggle against corruption and corporate capture,” the SACP said in a statement.

The public spat between Gordhan and the Hawks was again in the spotlight after it emerged last week the finance minister had been accused of fraud.

On Thursday, Gordhan, his former deputy at the South African Revenue Service (Sars), Ivan Pillay, and other senior former Sars officials were summoned to appear at the Hawks offices to provide warning statements.

On Sunday, the City Press reported the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) could charge Gordhan and three former SA Revenue Services officials this week.

Witnesses lined up

According to the publication, the Hawks had concluded investigations into corruption, fraud and illegal spying against Gordhan, former Sars commissioners Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula, as well as high risk investigations unit head, Johan van Loggerenberg on Thursday and delivered its docket to the NPA.

The NPA had reportedly lined up a list of more than 30 witnesses to testify against the four, the publication said.

Following a three-day  SACP central committee meeting in Ekurhuleni, the alliance partner reaffirmed its condemnation of the ongoing harassment of Gordhan by the Hawks.

It had noted the denial of any political involvement in the matter, it said.

“But also note that after assuring Comrade Gordhan that he was not a suspect, and then pausing for the local government elections, the matter is suddenly back on the table,” it said.

The real question

The timing was too close to events that happened between 2003 and 2007, they said, when the timing of another prosecution attempt against a senior politician appeared to be co-ordinated around the political calendar of the ANC.

They were referring to a 2003 announcement by the then head of the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, that while there was a prima facie case against then Deputy President Jacob Zuma, he would not be prosecuted.

“This statement placed Comrade Zuma, the ANC, and indeed the whole country in an untenable situation. The current harassment of Comrade Gordhan bears an uncanny resemblance to those events, where judicial processes are used and abused for political ends.”

The real question, the SACP said, was what had been uncovered by the so called SARS 'rogue unit' that made “some forces so desperate as to dismantle effective capacity in SARS, even risking South Africa’s economic well-being in the process?”

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