Pravin will go to court and win - Zak Yacoob

Former ConCourt judge says charge has obviously been made for an improper reason

Pravin will go to court and win - former ConCourt judge

19 October 2016

Cape Town – The case against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is a bad exercise in prosecutorial discretion, struggle stalwart and retired Constitutional Court judge Zak Yacoob said on Tuesday night.

"I have some concerns, because obviously the charge has been made for an improper reason," he told journalists after delivering the ninth annual Imam Haron Memorial Lecture in Lansdowne.

He said there was no real case for Gordhan to answer because he did something that had been done in the public service for a long time.

"Even if I am wrong in that, and there is a case for him to answer, there is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion."

He completely backed Gordhan.

"He got not a cent out of it and that is agreed by everyone. That is why it is bizarre to charge someone with fraud and theft when he got nothing out of it."

Request to withdraw charges

Gordhan told National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams earlier on Tuesday that he would not be taking up his invitation to make representations by 17:00.

Instead he invited Abrahams to withdraw the charges against him in relation to an early retirement payout granted to former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay in 2010 and the extension of his contract.

Abrahams announced last week that Gordhan, Pillay and former commissioner Oupa Magashula would be charged with fraud.

They are expected to appear in court on November 2.

"I think obviously that Pravin will go to court, nothing much will happen. I think he will win his case and then we will see what happens," Yacoob said.

He joined a number of business leaders and Cabinet ministers such as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom as well as ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu in rallying behind Gordhan.

At the lecture on Tuesday night, an audience member asked what he thought about the future of the ANC.

Change coming 'quite soon'

He prefaced his answer by saying he had stopped being a politician many years ago "so don't take my word for it".

"I see the forces of right within the ANC are beginning to raise their heads somewhat and beginning to gain some traction," he replied.

He had a feeling that the forces of corruption within, "admittedly the president might be the leader of that faction", were beginning to take a downturn.

"I see important change quite soon."

If that did not happen people may have to vote for another party in a few years' time.

Yacoob reflected that he had been a loyal member of the ANC and was somewhat biased in favour of it.

"But when I was a judge I wasn't," he said to laughter.

He admitted he was very disappointed about the current position of the party.

This article first appeared on News24, see here