Gordhan reports were planted - ANC

2016-05-18 13:26
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (File: AFP)

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The report that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan could be facing possible arrest is a ploy to influence rating agencies and create a perception of instability in the country, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Wednesday.

"Given the fact that these issues continue to be ventilated in the public, there are those who may take advantage and create more confusion, so that the perception of instability is South Africa is sustained," he told News24.

"The story on Sunday about an imminent arrest of the minister was nothing else but a planted story... it was meant to influence the rating agencies that were to arrive the following day, which was Monday."

He did not say who he believed was behind the "ploy".

The ANC was calling on government to refrain from dealing with this issue in public, saying they should rather deal with it "offline, quietly outside of the public space".

Kodwa said the ANC believed the reports were also being used to undermine the work which had been done since December to stabilise the country's economy.

‘Dangerous information peddlers’

This followed a report by the Sunday Times which claimed that the Hawks wanted Gordhan and eight others to be charged with espionage, for spying on taxpayers during his time as SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner.

Sources at both the Hawks and NPA were reportedly waiting for "political go-ahead" before arresting him.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi referred questions regarding the Sunday Times report to the Presidency. The Presidency dismissed the report as the "work of dangerous information peddlers who wish to cause confusion and mayhem in the country".

However, NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed that the Hawks had brought a docket on the so-called "rogue unit" to the prosecuting authority a few weeks ago, but said it was sent back for further investigation.

No decision had been taken on prosecuting anyone, he said.

On Tuesday, Gordhan finally responded to the reports expressing dismay that he was being investigated.

Intimidation and harassment

The minister said he understood that no one was above the law, but argued that no individual should be subjected to the manipulation of the law and agencies for ulterior motives.

"Throughout my 45 years of activism, I have worked for the advancement of the ANC, our Constitution and our democratic government," Gordhan said in a statement released by the department on Tuesday night.

"I would never have thought that individuals within the very agencies of this government would now conspire to intimidate and harass me and my family," he said.

Gordhan insisted that work done at Sars during his 10 years as a commissioner had been within the law.

Kodwa said the reports about Gordhan "create an impression that there is leadership instability within the Treasury".

He said the ANC took his statement very seriously and was concerned.

Cloud over minister

"We call upon the minister and everyone involved, if there are such serious allegations let government through its platform attend to those issues offline, quietly…"

Although the ruling party was worried about the reports and would interact on this issue, it would leave it to government to deal with it.

"We will interact and I'm sure the SG [secretary general Gwede Mantashe] will do so, but not to undermine government to deal with these issues and micromanage what government must do."

The sooner the issue was concluded the better, he said.

"We can't have a minister [who] seems to have a grey cloud hanging over him and that grey cloud is always raised in public… that has created doubt about him and it is important that we always make sure that we restore confidence and deal with issues of perception of instability of leaders, which is quite key in terms of the markets."

Read more on:    anc  |  zizi kodwa  |  pravin gordhan  |  economy

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