Kathrada, struggle big guns, to accompany Gordhan to court

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will be prosecuted for fraud, officials said Tuesday, in a move that sent the rand tumbling over concerns about political rivalry and the country's fragile economy.

Zuma has publicly said he backs Gordhan, who has also been targeted by investigators over a so-called "rogue unit" set up to probe top politicians when he headed the tax service.

The NPA announced on Tuesday that the charges related to a pension paid out to former deputy commissioner at Sars, Ivan Pillay.

Gordhan was summoned to appear in court in Pretoria on November 2.

Mr Gordhan has said the allegations are wholly unfounded and are politically motivated.

He said the goal of yesterday's media briefing was to set out the lawfulness of the Sars "rogue unit" and its work, although he said Gordhan was not being charged in relation to the rogue unit.

News of Gordhan's predicament sent South Africa's currency down 3.8 percent against the USA dollar.

Gordhan became South Africa's third finance minister in one week in December previous year, after Zuma sacked the incumbent Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with David van Rooyen - a widely criticised decision that sent the rand and stocks reeling. "Already yesterday there was some sceptism whether these claims will stick and we are seeing possibly the NPA backtracking on this decision to push ahead with attempts to prosecute the finance minister", ETM Analytics market analyst Jana van Deventer said.

The party said Gordhan should not step down, and should instead continue with his efforts to salvage the economy.

Analysts said the Gordhan summons increased the political risk of doing business in the country.

"We must now trust the courts to determine whether there is any merit to these charge", said shadow Finance Minister Maynier. In particular, the NDPP, Shaun Abrahams, advised us on 25 August 2016 that he will only consider our request to make representations to him on whether to initiate a prosecution or not once the investigation has been concluded and a docket has been submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority.

His statement prompted more applause and cheers from the crowd.Business Unity SA (Busa), one of SA's biggest business organisations, said that while it respected institutions of law, it was confident in Gordhan.He should be considered innocent until proven guilty, Busa said. Only last week, Gordhan appeared before the Financial Times Africa Summit in London, where he argued that the country was creating a "united front" to avoid a ratings downgrade and batted aside questions about his future.

Abrahams says the decision to prosecute was taken as soon as the investigation was completed.

"I informed the (justice) minister of the decision that had been made, because this matter affects a sitting cabinet minister..."

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