Struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada will support Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan when he faces fraud charges at the Pretoria Regional Court next month. In a statement sent out on Wednesday afternoon, the Ahmed Kathrada foundation said they expected other veteran activists to follow suit.
“I will be there to accompany Pravin to court. I’m sure that I will be joined by other board members of the foundation, who include Derek Hanekom, Laloo Chiba, Max Sisulu, Kgalema Motlanthe, Barbara Hogan, Prema Naidoo and Sophie Williams-De Bruyn, among others.”
Gordan will appear on charges of fraud related to the R1.1 million retirement payout of former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Ivan Pillay.
The statement comes a day after national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams announced that Gordhan, Pillay and former SARS official Oupa Magashule would face fraud charges and had been summoned to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on November 2. Gordhan later called the move by the NDPP politically motivated and said Abrahams was disingenuous in his handling of the matter.
The foundation has called on all democratic-minded South Africans to support the minister. “We encourage South Africans to demonstrate their moral support for Gordhan, especially on November 2 at the Pretoria Regional Court, where he is expected to appear,” said foundation director Neeshan Balton.
The foundation challenged President Jacob Zuma not to remove Gordhan as finance minister following his show of support for the beleaguered minister yesterday. “This commitment will, however, be tested by not removing the minister from his post, enabling him to deliver the budget statement and to continue with the work started in relation to building investor confidence in South Africa. Anything different to this will make a mockery of any expression of confidence in the minister by the president and the ruling party of South Africa.”