Gordhan slams Hawks, Moyane

The minister described as 'outrageous' the Hawks’ decision to send him questions about their investigation.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivering his national Budget speech in Parliament on 24 February 2016. Picture GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has described as "outrageous" the Hawks' decision to send him questions about their investigation, just days before he was to deliver his Budget speech in Parliament.

Speaking at a post-budget breakfast this morning, Gordhan called South African Revenue Service (Sars) head Tom Moyane's defiance "unacceptable".

The latest comments have raised further questions about Moyane's future, as well as tensions between Sars and the Treasury.

Gordhan says it's unacceptable for the head of a government entity to be defiant of the executive authority.

He told the post-budget PWC breakfast that the defiance simply raises the question that perhaps there is something to hide.

When asked for his views on what to do about the issue, former finance minister Trevor Manuel said he would simply craft a letter of dismissal for Moyane.

Gordhan also confirmed that he had received a letter from the Hawks last week Friday, but he had kept the matter quiet in the interests of the country and the economy.

The letter deals with an alleged rogue unit within Sars.


Last month, as Sars maintained its silence over claims that 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.


At the same time, the African National Congress (ANC) issued a formal statement of support for 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 Sars unit accused of wrongdoing.

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