Following Pravin Gordhan’s court charges, former ConCourt judge, Zak Yacoob has expressed confidence that the minister will win the case.
Speaking to journalists after delivering the ninth annual Imam Haron Memorial Lecture in Lansdowne, the former ConCourt judge said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has no real case against the minister because what he is accused of by the authority is common to the SA public service.
“I have some concerns, because obviously the charge has been made for an improper reason,” Yacoob said reiterating his support for the minister.
“Even if I am wrong in that, and there is a case for him to answer, there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion,” he said.
Earlier this month, the NPA laid criminal charges agaiathe Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan but analysts assert that though the NPA has the power under law to charge people with crimes, but the charges against the minister does not follow due process.
Taking a closer look at the matter, analyst believe the NPA is filing a case it cannot win as the case is weak and vague; one done in a manner which contradicts its claim to be protecting and enforcing the law.
The charge brought against Gordhan were that of fraud, with an alternative charge of theft both arising from his approval of early retirement by Ivan Pillay from the South African Revenue Services (Sars), and his rehiring of Pillay as Deputy Commissioner on a fixed-term contract.
Close to this is the so-called “penalty” which Sars paid to Pillay’s pension fund, which allowed him to enjoy full pension benefits (as though he had retired at the statutory age).
On these charges, former concourt judge, Yacoob said Gordhan got not a cent out of it and that is agreed by everyone. Hence it is bizarre to charge someone with fraud and theft when he got nothing out of it.
“I think obviously that Pravin will go to court, nothing much will happen. I think he will win his case and then we will see what happens,” Yacoob said as he joins a number of business leaders and Cabinet ministers such as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom as well as ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu in rallying behind Gordhan.
To prove the main charge of fraud against the minister, a columnist at the M&G said the NPA would have to establish that Gordhan unlawfully and intentionally made a misrepresentation which caused prejudice or potential prejudice to another (or to the state).