Zuma reaffirms his support for Gordhan

The Presidency released a statement saying it has noted that Pravin Gordhan has been charged with fraud.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency says President Jacob Zuma has reaffirmed his support for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Nine hours after it emerged that Gordhan is facing fraud charges, the Presidency has now released a statement saying it has noted that announcement.

It has urged the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to conduct the matter with the necessary dignity and respect.

However, the Presidency has been unavailable for further comment.

Earlier, this evening the National Treasury responded to the NPA's decision to charge Gordhan, saying it's clear the legal proceedings are contaminated by abuse for political ends.

It says that despite Gordhan's full cooperation with all legal requirements, the Hawks chose to arrive unannounced at the Minister's private home this morning.

It's also raised concern that NPA head Shaun Abrahams chose to dwell extensively on allegations about the Sars investigative unit during this morning's press conference, which he's not yet able to prosecute.

Treasury says that despite continuous engagements with the Hawks over the last six months, they still arrived unannounced at Minister Gordhan's home.

The ministry says Abrahams then called for a press conference without their prior indication.

Spokesperson Yoliswa Tyantsi says Gordhan remains committed to serving the country.

"Mr Gordhan wishes to place on record that he will continue to cooperate fully and in an exemplary manner in the execution of all legal requirements that are placed upon him."

Treasury says the content of the summons indicate that the matters are of an administrative nature and not criminal.

WATCH: NPA outlines reasons behind Gordhan summons


Earlier, Gordhan's lawyers issued their legal response to the charges.

They say they've been in discussions with the NPA because they'd asked to make representations about why Gordhan should not be charged.

They say they were told those representations could only be made after the investigation was finished.

But suddenly today, they were sent a letter that was actually dated a week ago, telling them that Gordhan is now an accused person.

The minister's lawyers also say that it's difficult for Gordhan to know what he actually faces, as he was told back in May that he was not a suspect in this investigation and then was suddenly told to make a warning statement to the Hawks.

They say he's taking advice to use every legal avenue to bring this matter to an end as quickly as possible.

LISTEN: Here's what'll likely happen to your money if Pravin Gordhan is arrested


Meanwhile, former Sars Commissioner Oupa Magashula has told Eyewitness News he's glad he now knows what charge he's facing, and that he hopes the case against them is able to move quickly.

Magashula also received summons this morning and is accused number one in the fraud case that has now been laid against himself, the Finance Minister and former Deputy Sars Commissioner Ivan Pillay.

The three now face the charge relating to the management of Pillay's early retirement and his pension.

Magashula says he doesn't want to do interviews at this stage, but that he's pleased he now knows that he's facing one charge of fraud after the Hawks first made him answer questions around the controversial Sars unit.

He also says he has faith in the legal system of this country.

But Magashula says he's hoping that the certainty around these charges will now mean this issue doesn't hang over the economy in the way it has been.

He says he hopes the case is managed quickly, so that the economy remains stable.


Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says Gordhan, like any other South African, should be subject to fair and consistent prosecution.

Madonsela is responding to questions at a public discussion by online publication News24.

She says the law should not be selective.

"If people think the law is selective, people stop respecting it. I would then say let's look at who else has been accused of similar things and let's make sure that if those things are being pursued, let them be pursued consistently."