Suzman Foundation, FUL apply to have Gordhan charges withdrawn


File: Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation threatened legal action against the NPA should it not withdraw fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

JOHANNESBURG – Freedom Under Law (FUL) and the Helen Suzman Foundation filed an urgent application to have charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan set aside.

The two organisations brought the application on Sunday.

“This is after we invited NDPP Shaun Abrahams to furnish us with more information about the charges, or to withdraw them voluntarily. He failed to do this, despite being given a week’s notice,” the organisations said in a joint statement.

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The organisations said the charges by the NPA were baseless and without foundation.

“The charges are obviously without foundation. Relating to the early retirement and subsequent re-employment of Ivan Pillay, a former Deputy Commissioner of SARS, they are completely invalid, both legally and on any plausible reading of the facts.”

“At best, the charges reveal dizzying incompetence at the NPA and the Hawks. At worst, they confirm our suspicions: that the criminal justice system is being undermined to serve particular political interests,” the statement said.

The organisations said the application does not seek to protect particular individuals or to take sides in factional battles.

“It is about protecting the machinery of the state from being undermined for malign purposes, thereby also preventing further damage to our fragile economy at a sensitive time.”

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Gordhan, Pillay and former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula were charged with fraud by the NPA.

They are due to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on November 2.