Vigil for Gordhan outside Hawks Pretoria office

2016-08-25 06:16


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Cape Town - Civil society and a church delegation intend holding a vigil outside the Hawks offices in Pretoria on Thursday, in support of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and two former Sars officials.

Section27 activist Mark Heywood said he was planning to join the gathering on Thursday morning.

“This is to monitor what is going on. What the charges are, what the Hawks do,” he said on Wednesday.

“There is a clear pattern of harassment of the finance minister and, unless proven otherwise, it is a political campaign. We are standing to defend our independent institutions such as the Public Protector and Sars.”

Warning statement

On Monday, the Hawks sent Gordhan a letter, demanding he present himself to a Brigadier Xaba at 14:00 on Thursday to give a warning statement. Gordhan said on Wednesday he would not do so.

Former senior Sars officials Ivan Pillay and Johan van Loggerenberg were however expected to arrive in the morning to have statements taken.

A warning statement is regarded as a precursor to criminal charges.

Gordhan said his lawyers had told him allegations the Hawks had made against him in a letter dated August 21 were “wholly unfounded on any version of the facts”. He allegedly contravened sections of the National Strategic Intelligence Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

This related to his granting early retirement to Pillay, the former deputy head of Sars. It allegedly resulted in unauthorised and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and corruption in terms of the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act.

- Read more: Hawks accuse Gordhan of corruption

The Hawks were also investigating Gordhan for the creation of an intelligence unit within Sars. Gordhan was Sars commissioner between 1999 and 2009.

In a letter to the Hawks, Gordhan’s lawyer Tebogo Malatji rejected the claims as “unfounded”.

Gordhan said Hawks head General Berning Ntlemeza had advised him that he was not a suspect in their investigation.

Read more on:    hawks  |  pravin gordhan  |  pretoria  |  politics

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