South African Business Leaders Express Support for Gordhan

A group of senior South African business leaders publicly expressed support for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as he faces fraud charges.

“South Africa’s democratic transformation cannot afford to have a man of Gordhan’s abilities distracted or sidelined,” leaders including former Standard Bank Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Jacko Maree and Brait SE ex-CEO Antony Ball said in an advertisement published in Business Day newspaper. “We know him as a man of immense integrity, leadership ability and commitment.”

Gordhan, 67, who’s been a key driver of a campaign to maintain South Africa’s investment-grade credit rating, which is up for review in December, has said the charges against him are frivolous and politically motivated and he’ll only vacate his post if President Jacob Zuma fires him. On Sunday, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a leading contender to succeed Zuma, said the finance minister had his moral and political support and that legal processes shouldn’t be abused.

Gordhan has also drawn backing from civil-rights and business groups, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, and labor unions and communists who are allies of the ruling African National Congress. At least eight government ministers plan to express their dissatisfaction with the way the case against Gordhan has been handled when the Cabinet meets on Oct. 19, Johannesburg’s Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Other business leaders whose names appeared in the Business Day advertisement include former Massmart Holdings Ltd. CEO Grant Pattison, JSE Ltd. ex-CEO Russell Loubser, Gordon Institute of Business Science founder Nick Binedell and Banking Association of South Africa Director Cas Coovadia.

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