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Hawks again deny harassing Gordhan

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The Hawks have once again been forced to deny claims that they were expected to talk to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday about his time at the South African Revenue Service.

This followed reports that the Hawks were on Monday going to interview Gordhan and some of the officials at Sars regarding the so-called rogue unit at Sars.

Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi described as lies claims that they were going to sit down with the finance minister regarding his time at the tax authority.

“We have said before there is no investigation against the minister. There is no such thing,” said Mulaudzi.

Gordhan’s spokeswoman Phumza Macanda had not responded to enquiries at the time of publication.

The Hawks and Gordhan have been involved in a fierce battle over the past four months.

This followed investigations conducted by the Hawks on the spy unit set up by Gordhan when he was head of Sars several years ago. Gordhan quit the agency when he was appointed to the cabinet by President Jacob Zuma in 2009.

Zuma has denied that he is involved in a proxy war with his finance minister.

The president said there was no fight with Gordhan for control of the National Treasury.

He said that as president of the country he was in charge of all departments, including the Treasury.

He did not believe people would say he wanted Gordhan out of the Treasury as the minister was appointed by him. It was his prerogative as president to appoint anyone. He said he would never be involved in a fight with his minister for the country’s public purse.

Zuma was forced to re-appoint Gordhan in December following the appointment of Des van Rooyen into the Finance Ministry.

That decision left the markets reeling, with R500 billion wiped off the economy.

The Hawks have denied claims by the SACP that it was waging a political war with the finance minister.

Business has backed Gordhan and warned state agencies to stay away from the minister. Business has warned against the manipulation of state agencies for political gain.

The National Prosecuting Authority has also denied any involvement in any plans to arrest Gordhan. It said it had sent back the docket to the Hawks.

The Hawks first sent Gordhan a list of questions a few days before he tabled his Budget speech in February. A public spat ensued between the Hawks and the minister.

Last week, the cabinet said it had urged the two parties to end the spat.

[Source: Political Bureau]
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