Finance minister Pravin Gordhan described fraud charges against him as frivolous and unfounded and said he has no intention of relinquishing his post unless President Jacob Zuma fires him.
His lawyers will decide on Friday whether to make a submission to the chief prosecutor to reconsider the charges, Gordhan said in a speech from Pretoria broadcast by teleconference to the Thomson Reuters Africa conference in Cape Town.
“If I don’t get alternative instructions, I’m here to stay,” he said. “We are two weeks away from presenting the medium-term budget policy statement. I have every intention of delivering that medium-term budget policy statement.”
After months of investigations, prosecutors on 11 October summoned Gordhan to appear in court on 2 November on charges of fraud over his approval of the early retirement and subsequent reappointment on a contract basis of a former colleague. That resulted in fruitless expenditure of R1,1m, they said. The following day, Shaun Abrahams, the head of the prosecuting office, told lawmakers he was prepared to reconsider the case if requested to do so.
Gordhan said he’ll follow legal processes to fight the charges. The minister said he has been a member of the ruling ANC for 45 years and the charges haven’t made him question his loyalty toward the party. — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP