Gordhan hits back at Hawks

Durban – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan hit back at the Hawks saying the organisation “has no regard for the economic and social welfare of millions”.

In a statement on Sunday, Gordhan said he was surprised to see “misleading headlines” and content of articles in some Independent Newspapers titles.

Reports emerged last week that Gordhan threatened to resign shortly before his budget speech after he received a list of 27 questions from the Hawks investigating the operation of a “rogue unit” at the South African Revenue Services (Sars).

On Monday, the Hawks said they never meant to investigate Gordhan and that he was merely the "suitable man to talk to".

Gordhan was a commissioner at Sars at the time when a covert unit was allegedly established.

He has now stated that over the past week, a delegation consisting of government, business and three labour federation unions have been on an intense investor roadshow “to address the concerns of bond investors and defend our fiscal strength”.

“This is so we can continue to borrow money we don’t have to spend on infrastructure and other projects. These investors and the ratings agencies are observing every development in South Africa with keen eye.

“I am acting, with other loyal South Africans, in the best interest of all South Africans so they can have a better and more prosperous future.”

Addressing the “revelations” in media reports this week, Gordhan said he spoke to his attorneys who said no letter had been received by his office as of Friday.

Gordhan said that in his letter to the head of police, he indicated that there was a refusal by the Hawks to state, for the record, “the precise legislative provision in terms of which they are asking these questions”.

He added that the deadline imposed was not achievable given he is currently engaged in the roadshow.

“In respect of questions asked, once legal matters clarified, I will respond to questions in accordance to advice provided by my lawyers. I am, like all South African’s, not above the law.” 

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