By Pinky Khoabane
There’s something amiss about what happened yesterday – that the head of national prosecutions Shaun Abrahams, having charged Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan of fraud, then asked him to apply for a review and when shown the middle finger, decided he would review the case and eventually come to the conclusion to drop the charges.
In between the few weeks between lodged charges and dropping charges, there was a lot of activity. Civil society, as I got to learn from a television interview I participated in yesterday, was going to undertake a precedent-setting mass mobilisation campaign in support for Gordhan ahead of his appearance in court on the alleged charges.
That was of grave concern to me. That there were people willing to interfere in prosecutorial process was of grave concern.
But as I drove to the venue of the debate, it emerged the charges were dropped.
Firstly, why and was it that the affidavit which compelled Abrahams to drop the charges not in his possession at the time of the NPA’s decision to lay charges?
Why was this information in the hands of civil society but more worrisome, why did Abrahams not have it at the time of making the decision to lay charges?
When you investigate an issue, you look at every little avenue until you find the answer. I dont know the extent to this investigation but surely the man/person who provided the information which led NPA to withdraw the charges must have been critical – why didnt the NPA get this affidavit which was so important that the charges were dropped?
What is at play here? What are the political machinations and who’s playing them?
Abrahams would have known that this was a highly sensitive case which required him or the Hawks to look under every rock to establish that Gordhan had a case to answer.
Why wasn’t this done?
The fact that Gordhan had been engaged in a whole lot of acrimony with the Hawks over the Rogue Unit and as we waited for this particular issue to emerge, fraud charges over HR issues emerged was in itself a surprise. Those of us who don’t watch or read news (but I confirmed with someone whose pay check is dependent on news yesterday) were taken aback by the announcement of charges over HR issues when the big issue was the unlawfulness of the Rogue Unit.
I’ve always maintained that the test of a democracy is in protecting the rights of those you do not like. If we adhered to this ethos, we would despite disliking them, have protected Julius Malema’s right to confidentiality in the dissemination of his bank accounts to the world in the allegations against him which included being a beneficiary of corruption in Limpopo and acknowledged the verdict that Jacob Zuma did not rape and that the courts found him not guilt. The examples are many.
We would have gone out in large numbers to protect Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng against media and gender advocacy groups that said he reduced the life sentence of a child rapist. It was a lie engineered by some “women’s groups (among them Black women) and liberal formations”.
If “lobby” forces against Mogoeng had succeeded, he would not be in the seat that the same who had lambasted him now praise him.
Malema who is now a virtue of all that is good (he now panders to imperialists and colonialists) would probably be in jail.
What is imperative is why Abrahams decided to take-on the case and why he dropped-it. There is a huge gaping hole in between all the analyses that is not being answered.