SACC to report back on meeting with NPA

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) will on Wednesday report back to its members and other church leaders on the outcome of the meeting with National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams.

Abrahams has come under increasing pressure in recent days since he charged Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for fraud after he approved the early retirement of former SA Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan speaks via video-link to a Thomson Reuters investment conference in Cape Town. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko. Credit: REUTERS

The SACC on Tuesday met with Abrahams to understand the context and nature of the charges against Gordhan.

SACC general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana will on Wednesday give feedback on the meeting with Abrahams.

This comes after Gordhan on Tuesday refused an offer by Abrahams to make representations to review the charges against him.

Gordhan’s lawyer Tebogo Malatji said they stood by the statement they made last Friday that they would not make representations.

He said Abrahams had turned them down several times when they wanted to make representations on the review of the charges. But Abrahams changed his mind after he met with Members of Parliament last week.

Abrahams was questioned by members of the National Assembly committee on justice and correctional services and asked if he would consider reviewing the charges against Gordhan.

He said if the minister made representations he would consider reviewing the charges. But Malatji said this was the same request he denied Gordhan several times until the minister was charged two weeks ago.

Gordhan is scheduled to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court with former Sars commissioner, Oupa Magashula, and Pillay.

Abrahams denied in Parliament last week that the charges were politically motivated.

He said he was applying the law and would do so consistently.

However, MPs questioned him on the number of officials in the government and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) who had been charged for flouting the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The National Assembly committee on public accounts has for many years been calling for departments to charge people for breaching the PFMA legislation.

This was based on huge losses made by departments and SOEs due to the violation of the PFMA.

Abrahams said he would now get the Hawks to work on the cases of officials who violated the PFMA legislation.

He would not give the number of officials to be charged with the law, despite being in existence for many years, and the government losing tens of millions of rands every year.

The tough stance by Gordhan will see him appearing in court next month alongside Pillay and Magashula.