Take me to court, Duduzane Zuma challenges Pravin Gordhan

2017-08-28 18:25

Duduzane Zuma has lashed out against former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, challenging him to take him to court if he thought he had a case against him and threatening to sue him for “the damaged he has caused”.

He said he was selling his shares in his South African investments – although he wouldn’t specify which ones – and “advised Gordhan” to “refrain from public statements that could affect the current sales and my reputation”.

In a strongly worded letter today, the president’s son accused Gordhan of using various state bodies such as the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Reserve Bank “to try and destroy me and my business colleagues with no proof of misconduct. Yet you accuse us of state capture.”

Zuma said, although Gordhan didn’t want to acknowledge it, he and the Gupta family had “consistently welcomed a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into all state capture”.

He said Gordhan’s “friends” in the banking industry has closed all of his bank accounts, “likely with your support”.

“Anybody can see that you are in bed with them, rather than on the side of hard-working South African citizens,” Zuma charged.

He said he was selling his shares to be able to focus his time on clearing his name.

“At this point I would advise you to refrain from public statements that could affect the current sales and my reputation. I reserve my rights to pursue legal action for the harm you are causing,” he wrote.

He said that he and the Gupta family, pledged 15 months ago to “exit our South African investments to make sure the jobs of our fellow South Africans are protected. It has taken a while, but we have done it. You criticise this sale, as you don’t care about jobs for ordinary people, and if it doesn’t fit you and your political agenda.”

Read: Gupta divestments not so simple

He asked Gordhan how he slept at night, and whether “putting more than 7500 South Africans out of work” even bothered him.

“You will always protect your friends in big business over the ordinary man,” he said.

Zuma said that Gordhan was finance minister for six of the last eight years, yet took no responsibility for this country’s economic performance in that time.

“It is always somebody else’s fault. While you were in charge at Treasury, starting in 2009, the South African economy flatlined, unemployment rose from 21% to 27% and national debt increased from 31% to a record 51%.”

Zuma also accused Gordhan of owning shares in various large South African companies, especially financial services, “an area where you have consistently blocked a state bank and more competition”.

Yet, he said, Gordhan had made no public disclosure of his holdings or noted the potential for conflicts of interest with his decision-making.

“People are innocent until proven guilty. I challenge you – take me to court if you think you have a case.”

Duduzane Zuma vs Pravin Gordhan

Duduzane Zuma names various “key facts” that the media had published “but chooses largely to ignore”:

• The Competition Commission charges monopoly businesses regularly in this country. Nothing ever happens to them. “Instead they become part of Save SA,” Zuma said;

• The banks were charged with currency rigging and instead got immunity if they helped the investigation;

• Absa still owed billions of rand in interest from “its previous corruption”;

• British American Tobacco was involved in a spying scandal in South Africa;

• African Bank was declared bankrupt, people’s money was “eaten”. Then shareholders with government money restarted the same bank and all debts are forgiven;

• Construction companies were found guilty of billions of rand of fraud at the Fifa World Cup – their bank accounts remained open;

• The Integrated Financial Management System scandal occurred on your watch; and

• Pravin Gordhan, he said, released his chief procurement officer Kenneth Brown and arranged a job for him at Standard Bank as public sector head.

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March 17 2019