National 26.8.2016 11:55 am

Gordhan, Zuma corruption cases similar – Shilowa tells us why

Mbazima Shilowa. Picture: Gallo Images/Foto24/Yunus Mohamed)

Mbazima Shilowa. Picture: Gallo Images/Foto24/Yunus Mohamed)

Shilowa has tabled a seven-point argument on why the minister should present himself to the Hawks – an argument at odds with the view of a former Concourt justice.

Estranged politician Mbhazima Shilowa has been absent in the public political sphere for years after being ousted from a political party he co-founded, the Congress of the People (Cope). The same can’t be said about Shilowa on social media, as he often takes to Twitter to air air his political views.

Top in all national discussions is the case of the Hawks against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, summoned the minister to answer outstanding questions about a so-called rogue unit at the SA Revenue Service (Sars). Upon receiving legal advice, Gordhan refused to avail himself before the unit, saying, “I am advised that I am under no legal obligation to present myself to the Hawks as directed in their letter.”

Shilowa says the notion that the case against the minister was a “conspiracy” doesn’t mean he should not avail himself to the unit. “A hands off PG [Pravin Gordhan] is no different to the hands off JZ [Jacob Zuma] campaign. Let us be vigilant including standing up, but let’s not set another precedent,” said Shilowa, who also argued “the courts have on a number of occasions ruled that the presence of a conspiracy does not nullify charges”.

Although the Hawks have not yet laid charges against the minister, Shilowa says Gordhan must submit to the Hawks regardless of whether he has a case to answer to or not. His views go against those of numerous legal experts and even a former Constitutional Court justice, who feel that if Gordhan were to present himself for questioning, he would be giving credence to a process that is not taking place according to any actual known laws.

Shilowa, however, wrote that “when the Scorpions wanted JZ to answer to the corruption charges, he said it was a conspiracy. To date he has not answered to them.”

The Scorpions were in any case disbanded in 2009 by then president Kgalema Motlanthe after the elite unit came into conflict with the late Jackie Selebi, then the national commissioner of the SA Police Service and the head of Interpol.

Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema has also been among the leaders publicly proclaiming Gordhan’s innocence while still wanting the finance minister to present himself before the Hawks because “we [the EFF] believe in his innocence until proven otherwise”.

Also read: No law empowers Hawks to summon Gordhan

The EFF wanted him to show respect for the Hawks’ summons and present himself at the unit’s offices in Pretoria.

“The EFF notes the unrelenting pursuit of criminalising the Minister of Finance by factions of the ANC who are seemingly gunning for Treasury under the instruction of the Gupta family.  This, however, does not justify Pravin Gordhan [not] cooperating with the Hawks.

“We all should not be seen to defy institutions of the state, as this will render them useless. To refuse to present himself to the Hawks will be to act with the same disrespect shown by Zuma and his faction to institutions of the state. No one, even if they be Finance Minister or President, is above institutions of the state.”

See Shilowa’s series of arguments below:

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