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Makhura reiterates support for Gordhan after NPA summons

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says he personally knows that Gordhan is an ethical leader.

FILE: Gauteng Premiere David Makhura arrives at an event at the Orlando stadium in Soweto. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has told Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan that he has the support of the Gauteng government and many others as he faces charges of fraud.

Yesterday, the Gauteng government hosted a seminar on the open tender system where Gordhan delivered a keynote address.

But before starting proceedings the Finance Minister told delegates of an unexpected phone call he received informing him of the issuing of a summons for him.

The charges are around his alleged involvement in fraudulently securing an early retirement payment for former South African Revenue Services (Sars) official Ivan Pillay, whom the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says didn't qualify for the payout.

Since news of the charges broke, others including African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Jackson Mthembu have thrown their weight behind the finance minister.

Makhura says he personally knows that Gordhan is an ethical leader.

"We want you to know that we're fully behind you. I know you Comrade Pravin, you're an ethical leader. I'll never say don't cooperate with the law enforcement agencies, you will go through that process."

Makhura says he believes the truth surrounding fraud charges brought against Gordhan will reveal itself soon enough.

The premier also garnered support from delegates at the seminar, saying he knows they also share the same feeling of faith in Gordhan at this time.

"I say this without doubt that many South Africans feel the same way and that many of you who are sitting here feel the same. So we're not making a statement about the Hawks, we're just making a statement about you."

Meanwhile, the announcement reverberated across the markets, knocking the rand by over 3% against the dollar.

This issue has the potential to expose serious fault lines within the ANC.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu and the South African Communist Party have publicly backed Gordhan.

But the ANC Women's League has appeared to take a different view, suggesting that anyone who questions the independence has their own agenda and that imperialists are trying to stop the economy from transforming.

Luthuli House itself has already called on people involved in this to stay silent, but it seems that the instruction is being ignored.

That may be an indication of how strongly people feel about this issue and how divisive it could become if President Jacob Zuma tried to take any action against Gordhan.

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