ANC: We believe in 'comrade Pravin's innocence'

The party also called on President Zuma to engage NPA leadership to ensure this kind of incident did not happen again, and to protect the NPA’s independence.

FILE: Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has now given its reaction to the decision to discontinue the fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, saying it always believed in his innocence.

But the party also says it’s now calling on President Jacob Zuma to engage the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) leadership to ensure that this kind of incident does not happen again, and to protect the NPA’s independence.

The ANC did, however, say the actions of the NPA in charging Gordhan, Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay have had a negative impact on the economy.

The party also says that that decision also created unnecessary speculations about the real motive for the prosecution.

But the ANC then called on the appointing authority to engage the NPA's leadership to avoid a repeat of this and to protect the independence and integrity of the NPA.

However, it's not clear what action they could actually want Zuma to take.

On Monday morning NPA head Shaun Abrahams said after considering representations he found Gordhan, Pillay and Magashula lacked the requisite intention to act unlawfully.

"I am of the view that this matter could easily have been clarified had there been proper engagement and co-operation between the Hawks, Mr Magashula, Mr Pillay and Minister Gordhan."

His announcement of the withdrawal of the charges, as well as the summons, means the three do not have to appear in court on Wednesday.

Abrahams says he considered a 2009 memo from a Sars legal executive which found that there were no technical reasons why Pillay could not retire early and be re-appointed.

Meanwhile, the ANC says the NPA must not make a mistake like this again.

There's been intense speculation that the NPA was acting with a political agenda when it decided to press charges against Gordhan

The ANC says there's been unnecessary speculation.

Kodwa was also asked how the party would feel if the NPA now decided to bring charges against Gordhan relating to the controversial unit he helped to create at Sars.

“We believe in the innocence of comrade Pravin and perhaps learning from what happened in the last month or so, the NPA must not do any mistake again.”