27 Nov Corruption – the real enemy in South Africa
27 NOVEMBER 2018 – The actions by Messrs Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu and others to lodge criminal charges against Minister Pravin Gordhan and his daughter today is a flagrant abuse of the criminal justice system.
Their so-called ‘charge sheet’ is baseless, containing a set of lies, fake news and fabrications.
It is simply their latest attack on the continuing efforts to combat corruption and theft in State Owned Companies and other public institutions.
The facts are: before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry last week and under oath, Minister Gordhan denied that he has a bank account in Canada. He also explained that his daughter has not derived any financial benefit from government business, nor conducted any business with a state organ.
Today’s actions by the EFF leadership are the politics of distraction. Corruption is the real enemy in South Africa. What the public should be asking those who launch these attacks are: what are you hiding and why are you so desperate to distract the public?
The content of the ‘charge sheet’ or ‘indictment’ is false, defamatory and malicious and has been disseminated publicly with the specific objective of causing injury to the reputations and integrity of Minister Gordhan and his family.
Minister Gordhan and his family reserve their rights to pursue any civil actions for damages arising out of these malevolent and defamatory allegations. In particular, the following must be recorded:
- Allegations that Minister Gordhan established an illegal ‘rogue unit’ within the South African Revenue Service (SARS) are patently false and have been discredited and disavowed in the public domain. Specifically, the interim report by the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into SARS states the following:
“ I have not yet found why the creation and existence of the unit was said to have been unlawful, which is how it was consistently and uncritically depicted. I find no reason why the establishment and existence of the unit was indeed unlawful, and I am supported in that opinion given to [SARS Commissioner Mr Tom] Moyane in late 2015.”
- Minister Gordhan has no bank account outside South Africa – any such allegation is completely false.
- The allegations regarding Minister Gordhan’s daughter and directorships on company boards, have been dealt with before the Zondo Commission. Minister Gordhan testified that:
- She joined Investec Bank Limited’s private equity division in 2007 and resigned in late 2017.
- Most financial services institutions invest capital (their own- or third-party investor money) in emerging, privately-owned businesses.
- The private equity division at Investec invested in privately held companies on behalf of Investec Bank Limited.
- Investec, the Bank, was, therefore is the owner of the shares (not my daughter).
- She was an employee in this division and part of a team of 12 private equity professionals who were appointed as non-executive directors to the boards of these companies as a representative of Investec, the owner of the shares.
- Private equity professionals from this team represented Investec on the boards of each company. It’s not her money. Their job is to look after the money of the bank and investors. This then helps smaller businesses to grow and create jobs.
- She did not benefit financially in any way – i.e. she did not own any shares in these businesses directly – and did not benefit from any director fees or other financial compensation from these companies.
- The benefits went to the bank and its investors.
- None of the directorships my daughter held were in her personal capacity and were always on behalf of her employer.
- The allegations of her, using the relationship with myself, to get access to government tenders to benefit these companies, is a blatant lie and these dangerous and unfounded allegations have been made to intimidate and harass my family and myself.
- She does not have any bank accounts in Canada – and for the record nor do I – and has not had any financial interests in Canada.
- My daughter has NOT done any business with the state.Part of what is going on is the descent to racism that we are seeing in this country as a cheap political mechanism to launch attacks.
In our constitutional democracy, the media has the critical role of guardians in society that must establish and report on facts in a manner that is balanced and fair, in order to inform citizens.
The disinformation campaign by Messrs Malema, Shivambu and the EFF, the public attacks on Minister Gordhan, his family, the threats and attacks on journalists, the Zondo Commission of Inquiry and anyone fighting or exposing corruption, are signs of a dangerous descent towards populism, political intolerance, racism and an assault on our democracy.