Prime News Ghana

Relieve at last: Charges against South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan dropped

By Sam Edem
Pravin Gordhan
Pravin Gordhan
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It brings a chill feeling on existing and potential investors of Africa’s second largest  economy, South Africa, whom in the last three weeks have been under a frenzy as the nation’s finance chief came under vicious attack  expressed in charges of fraud leveled against him: charges that are widely speculated to have been politically motivated by President Jacob Zuma or his close aides.

The suspension of the charges against Gordhan and former South African Revenue Service colleagues Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay was announced this morning by Shaun Abrahams, national director of public prosecutions. “They did not have the requisite intention to act unlawfully. I have decided to overrule the decision to prosecute Mr. Magashule, Mr. Pillay and Mr. Gordhan. I direct the summonses to be withdrawn with immediate effect,” Abrahams said.

Serving  previously as Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service from 1999 to 2009 then  in 2014, as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr. Gordhan’s appointment as Finance Minister in December 2015 brought  fresh air not just to the administration, which he was no stranger but also to the nation. From a position of considerable goodwill with President Zuma, the minister has of recent been in relative contempt following his criticism of the nation’s tax agency chief, who’s supported by President Jacob Zuma, in a series of blow that further deepens the  power struggle over control of the National Treasury. A criticism which  he aired in unequivocal terms in February this year, when he expressed that the behavior of defying orders to halt a management and systems overhaul by Tom Moyane was “totally unacceptable”.  Furthermore, Gordhan  is credited by investors for attempting to bring stability to the country’s finances and speaking out against corruption in state-owned enterprises.

Finally, amidst efforts by the finance minister to stave off the threat of a possible credit ratings downgrade of the nation’s economy, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch – rates South Africa marginally above junk status, thanks to the just dropped legal charges against Mr. Gordhan.