Pillay, Van Loggerenberg to follow due process in Sars/ Hawks matter - lawyer

Pretoria - The lawyer representing former Sars employees Ivan Pillay and Johann Van Loggerenberg says his clients will follow due process in their case with the Hawks.

"Our clients wish to thank civil society for their support. Our clients consider the allegations to be baseless and our clients will be following due process in accordance with their rights. That is all we are going to answer now," lawyer Robert Levin told reporters after meeting with Hawks investigators.

The Hawks had instructed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan along with the two to present themselves to their office in Pretoria on Thursday to deliver a warning statement.

The unit wanted to question Gordhan regarding his alleged contraventions of the National Strategic Intelligence Act and Public Finance Management Act. These related to his approval of former Sars commissioner Pillay's early retirement in 2010 and to the alleged creation of an intelligence unit within Sars.

In a statement on Wednesday, Gordhan said he had taken legal advice and had no obligation to present himself to the Hawks. He said he should be left to do his job in a difficult economic environment.

Gordhan was Sars commissioner between 1999 and 2009. During this period a so-called "rogue unit" was allegedly established, which was allegedly involved in illegal intelligence gathering.

Members of civil society came out to support the trio earlier. Section27, Right2Know, Freedom Under Law, the Helen Suzman Foundation and Advocate George Bizos were all there to pledge their support and accused the Hawks of going on a witch hunt fuelled by baseless accusations.

Van Loggerenberg thanked the people of South Africa for their support but declined to comment on the matter.

"The support is wonderful and thanks very much. Not only to the people who came but to the people who continuously send us messages. I have received thousands of messages since yesterday. I don't know why the meeting took so long, you should direct those questions to the Hawks," he said. 

"People can make up their own minds."
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