JOINT PRESS STATEMENT: FREEDOM UNDER LAW AND THE HELEN SUZMAN FOUNDATION
23 October 2016
This morning, attorneys acting for Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation served an urgent application to have the recent criminal charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan set aside. This is after we invited NDPP Shaun Abrahams to furnish us with more information about the charges, or to withdraw them voluntarily. He failed to do this, despite being given a week’s notice.
The charges are obviously without foundation. Relating to the early retirement and subsequent re-employment of Ivan Pillay, a former Deputy Commissioner of SARS, they are completely invalid, both legally and on any plausible reading of the facts.
At best, the charges reveal dizzying incompetence at the NPA and the Hawks. At worst, they confirm our suspicions: that the criminal justice system is being undermined to serve particular political interests.
The application by FUL and the HSF does not seek to protect particular individuals, or to take any side in factional battles. It is about protecting the machinery of the state from being undermined for malign purposes, thereby also preventing further damage to our fragile economy at a sensitive time.
The people of South Africa have a right to a criminal justice system that works for, not against, them. We are going to court to vindicate that right.
Statement issued by Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law, 23 October 2016