Presidency says its “powerless” to intervene in Gordhan investigation


The Presidency has said it is beyond its control to get involved with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s probe into Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan’s, alleged involvement in the rogue South African Revenue Service (SARS) tax unit.

In a statement on Wednesday, Gordhan said he had consulted with his legal team, and would not hand himself over to the unit, otherwise known as the Hawks, before the Thursday 14h00 deadline to answer questions about the unit.

“I am advised by my legal team that the assertions of law made by the Hawks in their letter of 21 August 2016 are wholly unfounded on any version of the facts. I therefore, do not intend to present myself for a warning statement for many considerations, both legal and given my other commitments,” the Minister said.

“I remain committed to assist the Hawks in any bonafide investigation as stated in my statement. I have a job to do in a difficult economic environment and serve South Africa as best I can. Let me do my job”.

Responding to the report, Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said President Jacob Zuma continues to express his full support of Gordhan, but added it does not have the power stop the Hawks from investigating him.

“Our constitutional democracy, the strength of our state institutions and the effectiveness of our courts in upholding and protecting rights is our guarantee of justice and fairness,” Ngqulunga said.

“The negative effect of these matters on our economy, personal pressure on the individuals affected as well as the heads of institutions, however disturbing, cannot be cause for the President to intervene unconstitutionally.

He however denied speculation that government had been implicated in the investigation, describing the allegations as not only “unhelpful”, but “false and misleading”.