National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams says there is no reason to apologise to anyone regarding his decision to issue a summons against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan was due to appear in court on fraud charges on November 2, along with former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Oupa Magashula and former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay. This was in relation to an early retirement he signed off on for Pillay.
In withdrawing the charges, Abrahams said he was satisfied that Magashula, Pillay and Gordhan did not have the requisite intention to act unlawfully.
He reviewed the matter following representations made by Magashula and Pillay, as well as submissions from Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation.
Gordhan refused to make representations, but Abrahams said the minister’s version of events was documented by priority crime unit the Hawks.
He said the matter was not a blunder, but a matter of difference of legal opinions.
“Will I resign? I certainly will not,” he told journalists when asked if he would step down.
The NDPP said he felt people did not understand his powers, explaining that he could not intervene in the matter until now, when he reviewed it.
“This case is no different from any other matter,” said Abrahams.
He went on to explain his role in the matter, saying that although he felt the way the case had been handled was not an issue of competency, he would look into whether heads needed to roll or not.
Abrahams however refused to answer questions about whether he was disappointed and embarrassed or not over how this matter unfolded.
Abrahams has been under pressure to drop the charges, with political parties and civil society saying the charges had no merit and that at worst the actions of the three should be classed as an administration error as they do not warrant a criminal investigation.