Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says the corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma "raises the political risks" and are "quite concerning", Fin24 reported on Tuesday. Gigaba made the remarks during an interview with CNN's Richard Quest in Washington. He reportedly added that he supported a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.
Gigaba was in Washington for the 2017 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group.
In a scathing judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last week, Zuma's efforts to avoid prosecution for allegations of corruption were dealt a blow -- Zuma lost an appeal against a high court judgment that the charges against him should be reinstated.
Asked if he thought the reinstatement of the charges against Zuma were damaging to the economy, Gigaba said the situation was concerning, but that seen from another perspective, it was a good thing that the judiciary was working independently, and this should encourage investors, Gigaba said.
"From another angle", the reinstatement of the charges against Zuma "affirms the independence of our courts, the supremacy of the rule of law and the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. It says that South African courts and South African judges are independent enough to take decisions about whomsoever, regardless of their social or political standings," Gigaba said.
Gigaba was also asked about the leaked emails that revealed the extent to which the Guptas were involved in state capture. He said "it is a good thing... it would be bad if it were swept under the carpet". Gigaba said the country could now start to take action.
Gigaba was also asked whether Zuma should go. He said that this should be decided by the ANC, and said the party was "well-capable of taking that decision."
"I don't think there is any urgency for us to pre-empt what is going to happen in December [at the ANC's elective conference]. He [Zuma] is going to step down anyway as leader of the ANC and that process must be allowed to run its course," Gigaba said.