President Jacob Zuma urged the parties involved in the summonsing of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to “conduct the matter with the necessary dignity and respect”.
Mr President in a statement‚ “reaffirmed his support for the minister”.
This came as speculation about a possible Cabinet reshuffle surfaced following the omission of Gordhan on the newly appointed task team to tackle the higher education crisis‚ comprising eight ministers named by Zuma’s office earlier on Tuesday.
“Amongst those in the task team one is the next Finance Minister‚” opposition politician Mbhazima Shilowa speculated on Twitter‚ in response to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) Dali Mpofu asking: “How in earth does this government get it right to have a Ministerial task team on the FUNDING of Education without the Minister of Finance??“
Rumours of Cabinet reshuffles have done the rounds in political circles for months.
Zuma said on Tuesday night: “Our society is anchored on the rule of law as well as fair and just judicial processes. In this regard‚ minister Gordhan is innocent until and unless proven otherwise by a court of law.
“This is a fundamental pillar of our constitutional democracy and the rule of law.”
He also noted that the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) “came at the most sensitive time for the country when Gordhan was successfully leading initiatives towards economic revival‚ bringing together business‚ government and labour in efforts to reignite growth so that jobs can be saved and created”.
Pres. Zuma’s party‚ the African National Congress noted the economic repercussions of the case.
“This investigation and related‚ untested and mischievous ‘conspiracy theories’ has had a detrimental effect on the South African economy and we trust that today’s announcement will move us a step closer to uncovering the truth from facts and bring this matter to finality‚” said spokesperson Zizi Kodwa in a statement.