EFF reports Gordhan to Public Protector after his statement to State Capture Commission leaks

The EFF has lodged a complaint with Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane asking her to investigate Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan for allegedly violating the executive ethics code.

This follows the leaking of Gordhan's statement to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Gordhan is set to appear before the commission next week. 

The public enterprises minister, in his 68-page sworn statement, claimed that while he had never gone to the controversial Gupta family’s Saxonwold home, he did recall a meeting where former President Jacob Zuma introduced him to Ajay Gupta.

"Early on in my first term as Minister of Finance, though I cannot recall precisely when, I went to the presidential guest-house in Pretoria, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, for a meeting with former President Zuma. When I was called into the meeting room former president Zuma introduced me to a man who I believe is Mr Ajay Gupta," Gordhan's affidavit read. 

Gordhan in his affidavit also said there "may" have been a Gupta brother present at a meeting he held with Indian businessman Anil Ambani in 2010. He admits that he never disclosed this meeting when asked about meeting the Guptas by the DA in parliament, saying it was of little consequence and he had no recollection of it when he gave the parliamentary response. 

The EFF said it was lodging a complaint against the minister on the basis of a 2016 parliamentary response.

"In this response to Parliament, Gordhan deliberately did not include a meeting he held with the Indian billionaire, Mr Ambani, and Ajay Gupta, to discuss the possible investment in MTN, which is strange since Pravin Gordhan was not a significant shareholder in MTN, nor any of its Executives," said the EFF’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi through a statement.

He said not disclosing such information when asked was a “serious violation of the executive ethics code.”

The Public Protector is already probing Gordhan in a matter where she has called him to explain his role in former deputy South African Revenue Service commissioner Ivan Pillay's early retirement package.

Respect the commission, says Zondo 

In a statement on Thursday, the Commission's chair Judge Raymond Zondo urged South Africans not to "disseminate or publishing" witnesses’ statements before those witnesses have given evidence at a hearing. 

"I, therefore, trust that, in support of the work of the Commission, all media houses, journalists, commentators, analysts and the public at large will not act in breach of the Regulations and will show respect for the processes of the Commission," said Zondo through the statement..

The Department of Public Enterprises, in a statement on Thursday, urged the media with questions around Gordhan's statement to the inquiry to direct those questions to the commission directly as the minister is yet to formally appear and testify.

"The Ministry is now receiving numerous enquiries from the media. However, we are not in a position to respond, given the Regulations governing the Commission. We have, therefore, agreed with the Commission that all media enquiries on this matter must be directed to the Commission of Inquiry," the statement said.