Battle lines drawn in Gordhan vs Zuma war
As Pravin Gordhan prepares to answer the Hawks’ questions, it’s unclear what the president will do.
JOHANNESBURG - With the clock ticking down on Finance Minster Pravin Gordhan's deadline to answer questions from the Hawks, it's unclear this morning whether his apparent rift with President Jacob Zuma will deepen further, or if Zuma will fire South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane.
On Friday, Gordhan said the Hawks letter, asking him questions about a Sars unit he helped create, was part of a bid to intimidate him.
But Zuma has said there is no conspiracy against Gordhan, while Gordhan appears to have demanded that Moyane leave Sars.
Moyane and Gordhan have butted heads over the Sars commissioner's apparent determination to restructure the institution.
The Sars boss launched a probe into claims of a rogue unit at the revenue service.
Battle lines in this fight appear to be closely drawn, with Zuma, the Hawks and Moyane on one side, and Gordhan, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe and churches on the other.
Gordhan has two days to answer that letter from Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza and he's said he'll use the law to protect himself and the Treasury.
Ntlemeza was found by a judge to have lied under oath and be a man without honour, before he was appointed to the post by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.
But the real question could be, what is going on in the ANC on this issue and why did Mantashe release a statement claiming Gordhan was the victim of a plan aimed at destabilising the country?
Meanwhile, the Presidency says claims of a conspiracy against Gordhan are baseless.
SUPPORT GROWING FOR GORDHAN
There is mounting support for the finance minister.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) is the latest to publically rally behind Gordhan.
SACP Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Cronin has lashed the Hawks for what he calls the unit's "extraordinarily clumsy" conduct, during a media briefing over the weekend.