Gwede backs Pravin

The ANC says it’s peculiar that the Hawks waited until now to ask Gordhan about Sars’s secret spy unit.

FILE: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has now issued a formal statement of support for Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan.

The statement, issued by Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, says it doesn't understand why the Hawks waited until just before the Budget to send a letter to Gordhan, asking him about his involvement in a South African Revenue Service (Sars) unit accused of wrongdoing.

The party says this suggests there was an intention to distract him at a crucial time.

Mantashe says this action is mischievous.

"We do not understand why the Hawks waited until four days before the budget speech to send questions."

The statement further says, "In the event that the Hawks have anything to investigate related to the minister and Sars, it would be in the best interest of the country if they did so professionally, using the correct channel and procedures and not seek to conduct a trial through the media."


Last month, as Sars maintained its silence over claims that its commissioner Tom Moyane wanted to defy Gordhan over restructuring plans, it emerged a report aimed at clearing up issues around a spy unit had been published with a crucial disclaimer.

Reports suggested that Moyane asked for legal opinion on whether he had to obey Gordhan's order to stop his restructuring plans.

An earlier investigation instigated by Moyane reportedly suggested he had been involved in illegally setting up the spy unit used by Sars.

Another investigation into the unit also led to the departure of former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and spokesperson Adrian Lackay.

In reply to detailed questions about whether Moyane wanted to press ahead with his restructuring of Sars, despite Gordhan's objections, Sars said Moyane had to apply his mind to the KPMG report.

That report was supposed to clear up who was involved in what was claimed to be a secret spy unit.

But then it was issued with a disclaimer by KPMG, saying the report cannot be used to settle any dispute or controversy.