Gupta ‘syndicate’ wants to engulf SA into their ‘fake news’ - Gordhan

Former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan. (Netwerk24)
Former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan. (Netwerk24)

Cape Town – Moves to probe a SA Revenue Services (SARS) unit and calls for his arrest are part of a campaign by the Gupta "syndicate" to launch attacks on those opposed to corruption, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

Gordhan was speaking out against recent action taken by the Hawks and claims of financial mismanagement of government's Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS).

Gordhan, who is at a conference in the Austrian Alpine village of Alpbach, told Fin24 via text message on Thursday that the latest move is a sign of desperation.

The Hawks subpoenaed former finance minister Trevor Manuel and his former deputy Jabu Moleketi to submit affidavits by Friday regarding a unit at SARS. Last year, they sent Gordhan a request to answer questions regarding the unit.

Gordhan told Bloomberg in Alpbach that he believes he will get charged in connection with the unit. This comes after the Hawks said on Thursday they are not gunning for Gordhan and are not planning to arrest him.

In addition to the Hawks matter, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba revealed this week that he has launched a forensic investigation into the IFMS contract. Since then, there have been calls from certain factions for Gordhan to be arrested regarding this.

In response, Gordhan told Fin24 that the IFMS “is a project managed by officials - the ministers have never got into the details”. In an interview with Fin24 on Thursday, National Treasury director general Dondo Mogajane confirmed that it was run by officials and not ministers.

“All of this and more is part of a well-orchestrated campaign by the Gupta ‘syndicate’ to discredit and launch attacks through the abuse of state institutions on those opposed to corruption and working for a renewal of the ANC so that we can once again earn the trust of citizens and ensure the ANC wins the 2019 elections,” Gordhan said.

“These malicious actions by this nefarious clique is a sign of desperation,” Gordhan said. “This is also a very transparent and ridiculous attempt to shift the focus from the plentiful evidence existing in the Public Protector state capture report and the leaked emails of plain stealing of public resources for which this clique must still account someday soon.  

“In addition, there is a huge concern in the ranks of the corrupt about the public having no belief in them and at the same time the credibility of those campaigning to expose corruption and save the ANC from a disaster, which will result in the ANC losing the 2019 elections.

“So, they want to muddy the waters and engulf the whole country into their ‘fake news’.

“It becomes hard to differentiate a truth from a lie. And they are also concerned at the activism sweeping the country - although, admittedly, there is much to do.”

News24 investigative journalists Pieter-Louis Myburgh and Angelique Serrao explained in analysis on Thursday how contentious the SARS allegations are.

“Questions have also been asked around why the Hawks are choosing to target Gordhan over the matter, seeing as he apparently had no direct insight into the unit’s workings,” they explained.

“To date, there has been no proof that any of the allegations against the High Risk Investigations Unit  - such as the bugging of Zuma, that interception equipment was bought and used to spy on politicians, and that they ran a brothel - was true.”

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