Don't get drawn into political battles, Cosatu warns Hawks

2016-08-25 17:33

Johannesburg – The Hawks should be careful not to be drawn into political battles involving Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said on Thursday. 

"They must not do a Hollywood style in terms of how they are handling people. Our warning is to the Hawks that they should not behave like the Scorpions and end up being perceived to be entering political battles. They must do things honestly," he said. 

Dlamini was briefing media on the resolutions of its central executive committee meeting, which ended on Wednesday.

The trade union federation was concerned that the accusations being levelled against Gordhan would affect the market, and thus workers, negatively.

An "invisible hand" was behind the allegations against Gordhan.

"The impact of all this will affect workers in a negative way. There is almost nothing we can do with an invisible hand and the market," Dlamini said.

However, he felt the Hawks should do what they thought was appropriate in dealing with Gordhan.

"No one is above law, but at the same time, the law enforcement agencies must act responsibly."

The Hawks instructed Gordhan, and two former Sars employees - Ivan Pillay and Johann Van Loggerenberg - to present themselves to their office in Pretoria on Thursday, so they could make warning statements.

The unit wanted to question Gordhan about his alleged contraventions of the National Strategic Intelligence Act and Public Finance Management Act. These related to his approval of Sars commissioner Pillay's early retirement in 2010, and to the alleged creation of an intelligence unit within Sars.

In a statement on Wednesday, Gordhan said he had taken legal advice and had no obligation to present himself to the Hawks. He said he should be left to do his job in a difficult economic environment.

Gordhan was Sars commissioner between 1999 and 2009. During this period, a so-called "rogue unit" was allegedly established, which was allegedly involved in illegal intelligence gathering.

 

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