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‘Ntlemeza must be charged for trying to sabotage Gordhan’

The Hawks sent Gordhan a letter, days before his Budget speech, on his role in setting up a Sars rogue unit.

FILE: YouTube screengrab head of the Hawks Major General Berning Ntlemeza.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of the People (Cope) says Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza must be immediately charged with sabotage for attempting to distract Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan during his budget speech.

The Hawks sent Gordhan a letter days before his Budget speech asking about his role in setting up a unit at the South African Revenue Service (Sars) that has been accused of spying on people.

Cope says it is deeply disturbed with the deep divisions and tensions in the ruling party which it says has now also affected the organs of state.

While the Presidency says claims of a conspiracy against the finance minister are baseless, Cope's Dennis Bloem says they agree with African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe that leaking the letter was a malicious act.

"We take this thing in a very serious light. We call upon Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko to charge General Ntlemeza with sabotage and to suspend him immediately from duty pending the outcome of this case."

Earlier, the Hawks said questions it sent to Gordhan were not part of an investigation into a Sars rogue unit.

The Hawks' Hangwani Mulaudzi declined to disclose what the questions to Gordhan related to, but did say they did not concern Sars.

"There is no investigation that we are conducting. These are just questions that we have sent and we are of the view that it is a matter of concern between us and the minister of finance.

He says if the ANC is concerned with this development, it should schedule a meeting with the unit's head, Berning Ntlemeza.

Meanwhile, Gordhan has issued a statement saying those who sent letter are not interested in the economic stability of the country, adding that the unit has no reason to investigate him.

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