While the finance minister awaits his court hearing come November 2, report has it that the NPA boss, Shaun Abraham had met with President Jacob Zuma a day before he finally announced Gordhan’s Court Charges.
Pravin Gordhan’s fraud charges have been largely condemned by citizens and legal bodies who believe it’s a strong move to unseat the minister.
The report that Chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams met with Zuma and three cabinet ministers behind closed door stands as a good proof that Zuma plans to remove Pravin Gordhan.
According to Sunday times, Abrahams met with Zuma and the cabinet members at the ANC’s headquarters a day before announcing his decision to charge Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for fraud.
The so-called meeting between Abraham and Zuma alongside his cronies has raised controversies especially as the office of the National Prosecuting Authority is expected to be independent of political influence.
The meeting which allegedly had Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Masutha in attendance, took place on October 10, hours before Zuma flew to Kenya on a state visit.
Abraham as well as Zuma both denied discussing Gordhan’s court charges and Abraham said he went to the ANC’s headquarters at the invitation of Justice Minister Michael Masutha.
“I was, however, at Luthuli House [on] Monday afternoon at the request of the minister of justice and correctional services, where I attended a meeting relating to the state of anarchy as a direct result of the violent student unrest … with, inter alia, the minister of justice, minister of state security, minister of social development and the president,” Abrahams said in an e-mailed response.
On the other hand, President Zuma’s Spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga confirmed the meeting but said Zuma had not invited Abrahams.
“President Zuma called some ministers to provide him with updates on the security situation at university campuses. The president was keen to be briefed on what was being done to protect security staff, students, and property during the protests,” he said.
He, however, refused to answer the question about whether Abrahams’ presence at Luthuli House did not put the chief prosecutor’s independence into question.
Meanwhile, a Luthuli House insiders said the news of Gordhan’s court charges reached the ANC headquarters on the same day Abrahams visited the building.
The following day, Abrahams announced the NPA would charge Gordhan with fraud relating to his giving early retirement to former South African Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
Two days later, the NPA charged EFF leader Julius Malema with incitement to violence for statements he made in 2014 and student leader Mcebo Dlamini on charges related to the ongoing protest at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Ngqulunga said these cases were not discussed: “The meeting did not discuss the prosecution of the minister of finance, the EFF leader nor did it discuss the prosecution of any student,
“It is highly undesirable that he went to a political party’s offices. It then explains the mess around the charged,” he added.
Abraham’s spokesman, Luvuyo Mfaku reiterated Ngqulunga’s words on the mater saying: “The matter relating to the minister of finance, Mr. [Oupa] Magashula and Mr. Pillay was not the subject of the meeting.”
It is unclear why the meeting was held at Luthuli House or if it was government related.