Zuma reaffirms support for embattled minister

South African President Jacob Zuma has reaffirmed support for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan who has been summoned to appear in court to face fraud charges, the Presidency.

Earlier on Tuesday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) ordered Gordhan to appear in court on November 2 to face charges in relation to the “rougue unit” he set up to spy on taxpayers when he was commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) between 1999 and 2009.

Zuma has noted the announcement by the NPA regarding the summons issued to Gordhan, Zuma’s office said in a statement.

The decision by the NPA came at the most sensitive time for the country when Minister Gordhan was successfully leading initiatives towards economic revival, bringing together business, government and labour in efforts to reignite growth so that jobs can be saved and created, Zuma said.

But Zuma said South Africa is anchored on the rule of law as well as fair and just judicial processes.

“In this regard, Minister Gordhan is innocent until and unless proven otherwise by a court of law. This is a fundamental pillar of our constitutional democracy and the rule of law,” said the president.

He has urged the NPA and other institutions concerned to conduct the matter with the necessary dignity and respect.

Also on Tuesday, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) welcomed the NPA’s decision.

The ANC urged all parties as well as external stakeholders to allow the law to take its course.

The ANC further urged Gordhan and others to fully cooperate with the NPA in order to bring this matter to finality as soon as possible.


Xinhua/Zainab Sa’id