Gordhan: 'nothing' to do with Pauw

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan says allegations are nonsensical.
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan says allegations are nonsensical.

Axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan has labelled the allegations about him being the mastermind behind Jacques Pauw's The President's Keepers as "pre-conference conspiracies".

The allegations were contained in a front-page article of the Sunday Independent newspaper yesterday.

It claimed Gordhan had led a team that approached the investigative journalist with "tons of information" for his book.

Gordhan told Sowetan yesterday he had "absolutely nothing" to do with Pauw's book and described the allegations as "manufactured", just days before the ANC's elective conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg on the 16th.

"These are lies aimed at discrediting certain individuals and to defend state capture and looting," he said.

Gordhan said the allegations were designed to make "those responsible for state capture have some sort of defence and to do what they've been doing after the [ANC elective] conference," he said.

The article said Gordhan was "pushing" for deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to replace president Jacob Zuma.

Pauw said the allegations were "untrue and malicious".

The article claimed Gordhan, former South African Revenue Services executives Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg, were among the people who met Pauw ahead of the publication of his book.

Pauw said: "It is truly bizarre to claim that people like Pravin Gordhan have used me to write a book in order to influence the outcome of the ANC conference.

"I have never met Mr Pillay and have never spoken to him in my life. I have never met Mr Gordhan prior to the publishing of the book."

The author of 'The President's Keepers', Jacques Pauw, at the book's launch in Brooklyn, Pretoria. / PHILL MAGAKOE
The author of 'The President's Keepers', Jacques Pauw, at the book's launch in Brooklyn, Pretoria. / PHILL MAGAKOE

Pauw said he spoke to the former finance minister at the launch of his book last month.

"I knew Mr Van Loggerenberg from my days as a journalist. I did approach him while writing the book, but he refused to cooperate in any manner."

The article also revealed looming court action against Pauw from spy boss Arthur Fraser's family and SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, among others.

"Mr Moyane is most welcome to sue for defamation," Pauw said. "He [Moyane] has destroyed SARS and I have devastating evidence that I will submit to court and it doesn't come from Gordhan."

SARS spokesman Sandile Memela said they considered allegations contained in Pauw's book as defamatory.

He said the Tax Administration Act of 2011, especially Section 69, prohibited the disclosure of taxpayers' information.

"SARS can confirm that a criminal case has, indeed, been opened against Mr Jacques Pauw at the Hatfield police station," Memela said.

Pauw threw down the gauntlet on the Fraser family, whom he claimed benefited from the mismanagement of public funds in a project headed by Fraser where more than R1-billion was wasted.

"The Fraser family is equally welcome to sue for defamation. Arthur Fraser was at the helm of a wasteful and corrupt State Security Agency (SSA) programme that gobbled up more than a billion rand of tax payers' money."

Pauw's explosive book blew the lid off how Moyane had allowed President Jacob Zuma to dodge the taxman and not submit tax returns for years.

The book reveals how Zuma enjoyed protection from a compromised network in other state agencies such as the Hawks, National Prosecuting Authority, crime intelligence, police and State Security Agency (SSA).

The article also revealed that a former intelligence operative, George Darmanovich, was taking legal action against Pauw, who described him as a Serbian national who worked for the SSA, in his book.

The article stated that Pauw had apparently apologised to Darmanovich for a 2014 City Press article in which Pauw allegedly made the same allegations as in the book.

Sunday Independent editor and author of the article, Steven Motale, said: "I stand by what I've written. There's nothing malicious. They're claiming conspiracy, let them prove it."