Letter to the Hawks – Why FinMin Gordhan missed Q&A deadline

Two days before Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was expected to deliver a budget address with the country on his shoulders, it has been revealed that the Hawks investigating unit sent him 27 questions to on the alleged Sars ‘rogue unit’. Even his superior encouraged him to respond. The timing was¬†irresponsible to say the least given Gordhan was expected to produce a budget that was meant to side-step oncoming ‘junk’ status. The deadline for a response is 4pm today, and below is the letter the Finance Minister sent to¬†Lieutenant General Berning Mthandazo Ntlemeza at the unit. It goes back with more questions than answers. – Stuart Lowman

From Reuters

JOHANNESBURG, March 2 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will not meet a Wednesday deadline set by an elite police unit to answer questions on his role in setting up a spy unit at the revenue service, his lawyers said.

South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan gestures as he arrives to deliver his 2016 budget address to the parliament in Cape Town, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan gestures as he arrives to deliver his 2016 budget address to the parliament in Cape Town, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

In a letter from his lawyers, Gordhan said he had received the questions at a time when he was preparing his budget speech, which he delivered on February 24. Gordhan is a former head of the South African Revenue Service.

“He will respond in due course, once he has properly examined the questions and ascertained what information, of the information you request, he is able to provide,” the letter from his lawyers, Gildenhuys Malatji said.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s letter to Lt General BM Ntlemeza

  1. We refer to your letters of 19 February and 1 March 2016.
  2. We confirm that we act on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan MP. Your letters have been directed to us for a response.
  3. You will have been aware that, at the time your letter of 19 February 2016 was delivered, the Honourable Minister was engaged in preparing the national Budget Speech for presentation to Parliament on 24 February 2016. This is particularly so since, when you telephoned on 18 February in an attempt to speak to him you were requested to contact him after the Budget Speech.
  4. You are aware of the national importance of the Budget Speech, and that he was not able to permit any distractions to jeopardise the Budget processes.
  5. In the circumstances, he has only just been able to begin to consult with his legal representatives on the best way in which to respond to your letter, and the questions annexed to it.
  6. He is therefore unable to respond by 16h00 today as you have requested. He will respond in due course, once he has properly examined the questions and ascertained what information, of the information you request, he is able to provide.
  7. That said, we request the following information to assist him in preparing his response:
  • On what authority do you rely on directing these questions to the¬†Honourable Minister?
  • Are you investigating any offence? If so, what is it?

 

Visited 46 times, 1 visit(s) today