Religious leaders pledge support for Pravin Gordhan

2016-09-07 19:01
Former Sars chief Pravin Gordhan. (File, City Press)

Former Sars chief Pravin Gordhan. (File, City Press)

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Johannesburg - Religious leaders unequivocally support Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his fight against the Hawks, the National Religious Leaders Council (NRLC) said on Wednesday.

The NRLC met Gordhan on Wednesday.

"We are gravely concerned about how he is being treated and the implications this has for our country and the fight against corruption,” it said in a statement.

The Hawks’ investigation into Gordhan’s alleged wrongdoing could seriously damage the economy, given the vital role of an effective Treasury.

NRCL members Reverend Ray McCauley, Pundit Ashwin Trikamjee, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and Moulana Ebrahim Bham expressed unequivocal support for Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, director general Lungisa Fuzile, and Treasury staff in general.

“We have confidence in the integrity and ability of the Treasury team and in the way they are doing their work. We would like to strongly warn those who want to raid the institution and destabilise the country not to push the people of South Africa too far. No one, but no one, should treat our country as their personal fiefdom."

Warning statements

On August 22, the Hawks instructed Gordhan and three former Sars employees - Ivan Pillay, Johann van Loggerenberg and Oupa Magashula - to present themselves to their office in Pretoria 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 former Sars commissioner Pillay's early retirement in 2010 and to the alleged creation of an intelligence unit within Sars.

In a statement, 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.

Read more on:    police  |  pravin ­gordhan  |  politics

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