Marches will go ahead in Pretoria on Wednesday even if the fraud case against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his two former SA Revenue Service (SARS) colleagues does not proceed.
Many commentators expect the charges to be dropped by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams‚ with some suggesting this would be done to avert a public display of support for Gordhan.
The case was last week mired in further controversy when a SA Revenue Service official was allegedly held against his will by the Hawks investigator in the case.
“Even if the charges are dropped‚ the People’s Assembly Against State Capture will go ahead outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday 2‚ November‚” said rights group Section 27.
“Except‚ in this case‚ it will be a rally marking victory in this battle‚ and consolidating the campaign against state capture‚ to stop the looting and corruption‚ and to restore the integrity of the state.
It added: “We have noted speculation that the NPAmay drop the charges‚ which would vindicate what we and many other organisations have been saying all along: that they were politically motivated and have no basis in law.”
The group is marching under the “Save South Africa” banner‚ to which a number of civic organisations have subscribed.
Also supporting it is the Congress of the People‚ whose Dennis Bloem said it “will be joining thousands of citizens who will take to the streets in Pretoria when we protest against the cancer of corruption and the evil of state capture”.
“South Africans from all walks of life‚ critical voices within our society including African National Congress veterans are saying enough is enough‚” he added.
The red-overalled Economic Freedom Fighters have too vowed to be there in numbers‚ and a pinned tweet of @EFFSouthAfrica’s reads: “Nov 2: South Africans must rally behind students; stand up against the Anarchy of Zuma and NPA bosses #DayOfAction”.
The South African Communist Party has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of Abrahams to hold office‚ saying his “behaviour displayed … in bringing charges against … Pravin Gordhan left much to be desired”.
“It was amateurish‚ to say the least. It also fed into the concerns that state institutions were being used to target leaders who were being isolated for standing in the way of certain private interests amidst the widespread problem of corporate-capture in the state and state owned enterprises‚ corruption and rent-seeking.”
Gordhan is accused‚ in his previous capacity as head of SARS‚ of fraudulently approving an early retirement for then deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and re-hiring him as a consultant.
Pillay and former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula are Gordhan’s co-accused in the impending trial.