Gordhan slams Hawks: No regard for economic, social welfare of SA

By Kaveel Singh, News24

Durban – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan hit back at the Hawks saying the organisation “has no regard for the economic and social welfare of millions”.

In a statement on Sunday, Gordhan said he was surprised to see “misleading headlines” and content of articles in some Independent Newspapers titles.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan

Reports emerged last week that Gordhan threatened to resign shortly before his budget speech after he received a list of 27 questions from the Hawks investigating the operation of a “rogue unit” at the South African Revenue Services (Sars).

On Monday, the Hawks said they never meant to investigate Gordhan and that he was merely the “suitable man to talk to”.

Gordhan was a commissioner at Sars at the time when a covert unit was allegedly established.

He has now stated that over the past week, a delegation consisting of government, business and three labour federation unions have been on an intense investor roadshow “to address the concerns of bond investors and defend our fiscal strength”.

“This is so we can continue to borrow money we don’t have to spend on infrastructure and other projects. These investors and the ratings agencies are observing every development in South Africa with keen eye.

Read also: Zuma v Gordhan down to the wire: President encourages Hawks investigation

“I am acting, with other loyal South Africans, in the best interest of all South Africans so they can have a better and more prosperous future.”

Addressing the “revelations” in media reports this week, Gordhan said he spoke to his attorneys who said no letter had been received by his office as of Friday.

Gordhan said that in his letter to the head of police, he indicated that there was a refusal by the Hawks to state, for the record, “the precise legislative provision in terms of which they are asking these questions”.

He added that the deadline imposed was not achievable given he is currently engaged in the roadshow.

“In respect of questions asked, once legal matters clarified, I will respond to questions in accordance to advice provided by my lawyers. I am, like all South African’s, not above the law.” – News24

Source: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/gordhan-hits-back-at-hawks-20160313

Finance Minister media statement

Hawks harassment must stop in the interests of justice

I was very surprised to read the misleading headlines and content of the articles in some of the Independent Newspapers titles.

Once again the Hawks, and those who instruct them, have no regard for the economic and social welfare of millions.

Over the past week, a Team SA delegation consisting of Government, Business and three Labour federations have been on an intense investor roadshow to address concerns of our bond investors and defend our fiscal strength. This is so that we can continue to borrow money we don’t have to spend on infrastructure and other projects. These investors and the ratings agencies are observing every development in South Africa with a keen eye. I am acting, with other loyal South Africans, in the best interests of all South Africans so that they may have a better and more prosperous future.

Let me address the “revelation” in the weekend media.

My attorneys have confirmed to me that that no other letter has been received by their office until close of business on Friday 11 March; nor by email. I can also confirm that I am unaware of any “new” letter.

I attach the letter sent by my attorneys to the head of the police unit on 7 March 2016. This letter indicates clearly that:

  1. The refusal of the police unit to state for the record the precise legislative provision in terms of which they are asking these questions;
  2. The deadline imposed is not achievable given the roadshow I was undertaking.
  3. In respect of the questions – Once the legal matters have been clarified, I will respond to the questions in accordance with the advice provided by my lawyers. I am, like all South Africans, not above the law.

So where is this mysterious letter? Why does one journalist among the press seem to have something at hand but the people to whom it is directed don’t? Also, why “leak” a letter that has to be still studied and responded to – to further use harassment and intimidatory tactics like the old Security Police did?

I will continue to serve South Africa as best I can, in the interests of all our people. Our immediate task – all of us – is to avoid a downgrade and find urgent ways of growing our economy and creating jobs, in particular for our youth.

Hawks letter to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan