This week was ushered in with rampant speculation around the apparent pending arrest of Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan and members of the previous Hawks. This, on apparent charges around espionage, during his time as SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner.
Despite the initial reports that alluded to the fact that both the Hawks and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) were waiting for the go ahead to execute the arrest, the NPA later came out dispelling this entirely.
“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,” reported News24.
On Tuesday, much to the delight of the rand, Gordhan broke his silence on the matter.
“I cannot believe that I am being investigated and could possibly be charged for something I am completely innocent of. I have answered the questions submitted by the Hawks, and have not heard from them. I was not aware of any impending charges or further investigations until the reports in the past weekend,” stated Gordhan.
He further stated that he had met with his lawyers, and is in the process of further consulting both the Hawks and the NPA.
“I worked together with over ten thousand staff for a decade to transform SARS into a world class revenue and customs administration. We built the revenue service into an efficient and effective institution that provided the increasing fiscal resources to enable government to provide social grants. SARS and the specialist investigative units therein operated within the law during my time as the Commissioner.
“The malicious rumours and accusations about "espionage" activities are false and manufactured for other motives,” remarked Gordhan.
In addition the minister made reference to the reports of a few businesses claiming ‘inside knowledge or influence over state institutions.’
“If such reports are true, that alleged conduct will undermine the integrity and honesty within the Treasury or other key institutions,” Gordhan said.
He appealed to all South Africans to protect the National Treasury staff, was also made.
“I appeal to all South Africans to protect the National Treasury staff, who have diligently, honestly and skilfully served the national interest to the best of their ability. They are recognized worldwide for their professionalism and competence,” urged Gordhan.