Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday tried to straddle his government role with friendship as he commented on the fraud rap served on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Issuing a statement‚ he highlighted his longstanding camaraderie with Gordhan while acknowledging the importance of respecting South African organs of state.
Ramaphosa offered his moral and political support to Gordhan amid "the legal processes unfolding around him" and as he prepares to deliver the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday‚ 26 October 2016.
“Events of the past few days regarding summonses served on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan have been of concern to many South Africans across all sectors of society‚” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.
“As a member of the National Executive‚ I lend my support to Minister Gordhan as he faces charges brought against him by the National Prosecuting Authority. I have known and worked with Minister Gordhan both in government and during the days of the prosecution of the struggle for a non-racial‚ non-sexist democratic society.
“I have no doubt about his commitment in building a better South Africa for all. Like of all South Africans‚ Minister Gordhan remains subject to the laws of the country‚ and retains his right to remain silent‚ to be free from abuse of process‚ and to a legal defence.
“I am fully cognisant of the role that the NPA has to play in building a democratic society. In this regard‚ we respect the constitutional mandate that the NPA has to discharge without fear‚ favour or prejudice.
“This mandate has to be balanced against the constitutional rights of all individuals‚ including the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
“The situation requires of all South Africans to demonstrate unity in defence of constitutional values‚ the integrity of our legal system and the objective of setting South Africa on a path of sustainable and inclusive economic growth that will help us overcome poverty‚ unemployment and inequality.
“In this regard and whatever the legal challenges that Minister Gordhan may face‚ we must not undermine the work that the government jointly with leaders of business and labour have been doing to stimulate domestic and international investment in our economy and have yielded impressive outcomes across a range of industrial sectors.
“Accordingly we must conduct ourselves in ways that will uphold our constitutional values and maintain South Africa’s good reputation internationally. The forthcoming Medium Term Budget Policy Statement later this month is an important opportunity for us to assess economic conditions in the country and to reassure the investor community that South Africa remains a preferred destination for investments.
“I therefore wish Minister Gordhan well as he prepares to deliver the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement and hope that this challenge will not distract him from focusing on this important national task.
"Government is at one in its approach on this matter and calls upon all South Africans to approach these issues rationally and put the interests of the country first‚ concluded Deputy President Ramaphosa.