Enoch Godongwana: Hawks probe aims to remove Gordhan

Johannesburg - Enoch Godongwana, who leads the African National Congress economics committee, has backed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

He told Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA that the investigation into Gordhan is an attempt to remove him from office and weaken the National Treasury.

This follows the minister’s moves to probe spending at power utility Eskom and South African Airways, and state arms company Denel relating to a joint venture, that could give business to a company linked to the Gupta family, who are friends with President Jacob Zuma.

“I share that view that in fact these charges are being concocted in order to cover all of those things, to find a minister which is pliant, which is going to accept all those things,” Godongwana said in an interview with eNCA that was broadcast on Wednesday.

Gordhan may face arrest by the Hawks over allegations he set up the tax investigative body a decade ago when he headed the South African Revenue Service. The minister and Zuma have been at loggerheads over Gordhan’s demand that the tax commissioner be fired for insubordination.

Godongwana said it’s unprecedented that the finance minister no longer has control over the nation’s revenue service.

Perceptions that the Presidency and Treasury are at “war” are unfounded, Zuma said in parliament on Tuesday. Gordhan has said the tax unit was approved by the government and set up within the law.

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