Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan received a letter from the Hawks on Monday‚ demanding that he present himself on Thursday to provide the unit with a warning statement – implying that he is a suspect and that he could be arrested.
Gordhan said he was advised by his attorneys that he was not obliged to attend the meeting‚ which is related to the investigation into allegations of a covert unit at the SA Revenue Service during his tenure as commissioner.
Here’s a round-up of reaction to the news:
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi:
“The EFF notes the unrelenting pursuit of criminalising the minister of finance by factions of the African National Congress (ANC) who are seemingly gunning for Treasury under the instruction of the Gupta family.
“We call on Pravin Gordhan to rethink his position and present himself to the Hawks. If he is innocent‚ which we believe he is‚ there is nothing the Hawks can do.
“This‚ however‚ does not justify Pravin Gordhan from cooperating with the Hawks.”
Banking Association South Africa MD Cas Coovadia:
“We are absolutely clear that the law must take it course and are in support of what minister Gordhan has himself stated‚ that no one is above the law. But we find the current events and allegations to be unacceptable.
“We are highly disturbed about this ‘process’ and that there has been a leak. The leak places our national interest in danger and it is particularly concerning that this is not the first time proposed action by the Hawks against the Minister has been leaked.
“Basa is fundamentally concerned with the timing hereof. We have just concluded the municipal elections‚ which has shifted and realigned the South African political landscape. The electoral process‚ including the performance of the Electoral Commission of SA and the acceptance of the results by the ANC‚ promoted a positive message of our democracy and built confidence.
“This action by the Hawks reverses these gains.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane:
“The DA welcomes this afternoon’s announcement by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan indicating that he will not be presenting himself to the Hawks tomorrow – this despite being requested to do so by the Head of the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation‚ Major-General (Berning) Ntlemeza.
“While we‚ as the DA fully‚ respect the rule of law and due process‚ we are in full support of anyone who stands up to Jacob Zuma and his project of capturing the state and its machinery to further his own nefarious agenda.”
Section 27’s Mark Heywood on Thursday’s planned protest outside the Hawks office:
“This is a civil society observer delegation to express disquiet about the attack on the minister of finance‚ Sars and other independent institutions of state. Their presence will coincide with the time when the first member of Sars* has been asked to present himself to the Hawks.
“This is a critical moment in our nation’s future. There have been extensive discussions today with many different groups on how to respond.”
(*Former Sars officials Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg have also been summoned‚ and indicated that they will meet the unit.)
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel:
“Such action (firing Gordhan) will destroy this economy. The next move is actually up to the head of state to call them (Hawks) in and say: if you have compelling evidence let’s see what it is.”
Business Leadership SA (BLSA) – in an open letter to Zuma:
BLSA said that‚ while nobody was above the law‚ “it is shocking that out national collective effort to avoid a ratings downgrade and to restore inclusive economy growth is now being so insidiously subverted”.
“If this sinister behaviour is allowed to continue the consequences will be devastating for our economy and will fatally undermine our national efforts to address poverty‚ inequality‚ and unemployment.”
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Source: Rand Daily Mail