Cabinet did not discuss possible arrest of Gordhan

Cape Town - Cabinet did not discuss the possible arrest - or not - of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.

Nor did they discuss allegations of smuggling a person into the country against Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Radebe told media in Parliament. He was questioned on whether Cabinet had been briefed regarding the investigation of the Hawks into Gordhan.

"We have never discussed the issue of the arrest, and not arrest, of anybody. But what was discussed was the public statements on all sides. Where Cabinet and the President indicated that these matters should not be ventilated in public, there are appropriate forums to deal with them," he said.

In February Gordhan was sent a list of 27 questions that he had to answer by Wednesday March 2, relating to the so-called "rogue" South African Revenue Service (Sars) unit that was formed while he was heading the organisation.

The letter was sent by Hawks boss Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza just days before Gordhan's budget speech address. On May 17 Gordhan issued a statement to say that the attack on him has been painful.

"I cannot believe that I am being investigated and could possibly be charged for something I am completely innocent of. I have answered the questions submitted by the Hawks, and have not heard from them. I was not aware of any impending charges or further investigations until the reports in the past weekend," he said, referring to media reports.

False name to escape abuse

Media reported this month that the top police investigating unit wanted Gordhan and eight others to be prosecuted for espionage for the unit's alleged spying on taxpayers during his time as Sars commissioner.

National Director of Public Prosecution Shaun Abrahams said on Monday that this was not true.

"There are no charges of espionage being investigated against Minister Gordhan," said Abrahams. 

A Sunday Times report on Sunday said Mapisa-Nqakula had helped a Burundian woman leave the Democratic Republic of Congo and enter South Africa on false documentation so that she could escape an abusive situation.

Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed that she helped the woman leave, explaining that the false name was so that she could avoid detection by the person abusing her.

The matter, which according to Radebe was not discussed by Cabinet, was also not raised during a sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

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