Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday dismissed the Economic Freedom Fighters’ corruption charges against him as an abuse of the justice system and an attack on efforts to combat graft and state capture at state-owned companies.
“Their so-called ‘charge sheet’ is baseless, containing a set of lies, fake news and fabrications,” the minister said.
It is simply their latest attack on the continuing efforts to combat corruption and theft in state-owned companies and other public institutions.”
Gordhan said by opening a case, and widely disseminating the charge sheet, the EFF was continuing its efforts to impugn the integrity and reputation of his family and threatened to sue party leaders for civil damages.
He launched a defamation suit against EFF leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu on Monday, demanding R150 000 in damages, and laid charges of criminal defamation with the police.
He also asked the Equality Court to determine whether recent inflammatory remarks by Malema amounted to hate speech.
On Tuesday, the EFF leadership retaliated by approaching the same police station to lay charges of fraud, money-laundering, racketeering, corruption and contravention of the intelligence and crime prevention acts.
EFF national spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi then posted the case number on his twitter timeline.
Gordhan responded to the specifics of the charges by claims that he illegally set up an intelligence gathering unit within the South African Revenue Service were false and quoted Judge Robert Nugent, the head of the inquiry into the tax body saying that he failed to understand why the unit was claimed to have been unlawful.
Turning to the EFF’s corruption allegations against his daughter, Anisha, he reiterated that she had not done business with the state and did not have a bank account in Canada. He added that neither did he.
Gordhan said the EFF was using a strategy of distraction and the public should ask what the party was desperately trying to hide.
He went on to accuse the party of using race as a cheap tool for political attacks and said targeting himself, the media and the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture were “signs of a dangerous descent towards populism, political intolerance, racism and an assault on our democracy”.