Gordhan throws counter-punch‚ says EFF charges are based on lies
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan hit back at the EFF on Tuesday‚ saying the charges laid against him by the party and its leader Julius Malema were based on lies and fake news.
Gordhan's spokesperson Adrian Lackay responded to the EFF lodging a criminal complaint by saying: "Their so-called ‘charge sheet’ is baseless‚ containing a set of lies‚ fake news and fabrications."
Malema had on Tuesday opened a criminal case against Gordhan at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria.
The complaint included allegations of money laundering‚ corruption‚ racketeering‚ fraud‚ contravention of the Intelligence Act and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act‚ and perjury.
The party made damning allegations against Gordhan‚ including claims that his daughter Anisha was a beneficiary of state contracts.
Delivering his testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture‚ Gordhan said it was not true that his daughter held directorships or private shares in the entities listed by the EFF.
"The allegation of using the relationship with myself to get access to government tenders to benefit these companies is a blatant lie. These dangerous and unfounded allegations have been made to intimidate and harass my family and myself‚" Gordhan had told the commission.
Lackay said in a statement on Tuesday that all the allegations made by the EFF had been addressed by Gordhan under oath at the commission‚ including those centred on an alleged rogue unit at Sars and allegations about Gordhan having offshore accounts.
He accused the EFF of resorting to the "politics of distraction".
"Corruption is the real enemy in South Africa. What the public should be asking those who launch these attacks is: What are you hiding and why are you so desperate to distract the public?"
Malema's move to lay charges against Gordhan came just hours after Gordhan filed a defamation complaint against him and his deputy Floyd Shivambu.
Gordhan’s lawyer Tebogo Malatji had on Monday said statements made about the minister to EFF supporters‚ outside the Parktown building in Johannesburg where the commission hearings are being held‚ "were hurtful‚ intended to incite hatred‚ and constituted hate speech".
Gordhan had filed a complaint of crimen injuria and criminal defamation and asked the police to investigate any incitement to violence contained in the speech by Malema.
He had also laid a complaint at the Equality Court‚ seeking an apology from Malema and Shivambu‚ and damages of R150‚000 which‚ his lawyer said‚ would be donated to charitable causes if granted.
"The disinformation campaign by Malema‚ Shivambu and the EFF‚ the public attacks on minister Gordhan‚ his family‚ the threats and attacks on journalists‚ the Zondo commission of inquiry and anyone fighting or exposing corruption‚ are signs of a dangerous descent towards populism‚ political intolerance‚ racism and an assault on our democracy‚" said the statement.