End game approaches – stakes raised in Zupta v Gordhan

By Alec Hogg

That Pravin Gordhan is a very honest man has been confirmed by charges a Zuma-friendly National Prosecuting Authority formally laid on Monday. After months of relentless digging and endless threats, Gordhan is being charged with criminal fraud for being part of the trio that agreed to an “illegal” pension payment on behalf of ANC stalwart and SARS former Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay.

In essence, at issue are different interpretations of the Public Service Administration and the Public Finance Management Acts. An irritation to the bureaucrats perhaps, but hardly criminal. Business organisations have been quick to condemn the NPA’s approach, a move which sent the Rand into a tailspin and will be a jolt to preparations for the crucial Mini Budget due later this month.

Among those complaining is the Chamber of Mines which said “legal means should not be used to opportunistically pursue allegedly nefarious agendas under the guise of justice and due process.” Nice. But, the statement continues, as a result the Chamber intends raising the matter with the Presidency.

That’s like complaining to Putin about the Russian bombing killing civilians in Aleppo. Clearly the Chamber officials weren’t paying attention when Anglogold’s chairman Sipho Pityana delivered “The Speech” at the Joburg Mining Indaba.

Pravin Gordhan, South Africa's finance minister, right, sits beside Jacob Zuma, South Africa's president, left, before delivering his 2016 budget speech to parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Gordhan stuck to a pledge to bring down the budget deficit, targeting civil-servant jobs and increasing wealth taxes to stave off a credit-rating downgrade to junk. Photographer: Halden Krog/Bloomberg
Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s finance minister, right, sits beside Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president. Photographer: Halden Krog/Bloomberg
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