Anti-apartheid struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada has indicated that he will be at the Pretoria Regional Court on November 2 to support Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
This follows yesterday’s decision by the National Prosecuting Authority to instate fraud charges against the Minister.
Kathrada, reacting to the news, stated, “I will be there to accompany Pravin to Court. I’m sure that I will be joined by other Board members of the Foundation, who include Derek Hanekom, Laloo Chiba, Max Sisulu, Kgalema Motlanthe, Barbara Hogan, Prema Naidoo and Sophie Williams-De Bruyn, amongst others.”
The Kathrada Foundation shared the stalwart’s sentiments on the need to show solidarity with the Finance Minister and his fellow accused, Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula.
The Foundation has called on all democratic-minded South Africans to support Minister Gordhan. “We encourage South Africans to demonstrate their moral support for Gordhan, especially on November 2 at the Pretoria Regional Court, where he is expected to appear,” said the Foundation’s Director, Neeshan Balton. “We trust that once this matter is concluded in Court, Minister Gordhan will come out with his integrity remaining intact,” Balton said.
He noted that it was not so much about supporting the individual per se, but about the positive ideals and values that Gordhan represents.
“Minister Gordhan stands for clean governance, economic stability and ‘ethical leadership’, as noted by Gauteng Premier and Kathrada Foundation Board member, David Makhura yesterday. These values must be supported by all democrats,” said Balton. “Decent and democratic-minded South Africans will not allow economic instability to prevail, and they should not allow Minister Gordhan to be put under pressure to resign,” added Balton.
The Foundation indicated that it considered the charges “as nothing more than an attempt to lay the foundation for the removal of Gordhan from the post of Finance Minister”.
“We also share the sentiments of many who have questioned the timing of these charges as it comes just weeks before the medium term budget statement and a few days before the release of the Public Protector’s report into state capture. Treasury stands as the bulwark against many of the schemes aimed at short-changing the people of South Africa,” Balton said.
The Foundation noted the statement of confidence in the Finance Minister expressed by the President yesterday. “This commitment will however, be tested by not removing the Minister from his post, enabling him to deliver the budget statement and to continue with the work started in relation to building investor confidence in South Africa. Anything different to this will make a mockery of any expression of confidence in the Minister by the President and the ruling party of South Africa.”
“We reiterate the views expressed by struggle stalwarts Ahmed Kathrada and Barbara Hogan in a letter to Minister Gordhan in August this year,” said Balton.
The veterans had noted that they had followed, “with interest and increasing anxiety, the undisguised campaign against you (Gordhan), both as Minister and as an individual.” The letter also urged Gordhan to “keep strong”, adding that “nefarious efforts” to dent his contribution as freedom fighter and minister would not succeed.