Hawks push ahead with Gordhan investigation

He has until Wednesday to answer 27 questions from Hawks boss, Major General Berning Ntlemeza.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks are confident they have a strong case against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and other former South African Revenue Service (Sars) employees.

The Hawks sent Gordhan a letter asking about his role in setting up a unit at Sars that has been accused of spying on people.

The City Press is reporting that the investigative unit says it's pressing on with their investigation against Gordhan, despite the Finance Minister denying the allegation brought up against him.

Gordhan has until Wednesday to answer 27 questions from Hawks boss, Major General Berning Ntlemeza.

Although the Presidency has rubbished claims of a conspiracy against Gordhan, The City Press says it has spoken to a senior government official, who says the minister should not expect any help in his legal battles from President Jacob Zuma.

The official says the president has been advised not to interfere as that would amount to defeating the ends of justice.

The case against the Finance Minister relates to his approval of the unit's operations, among other things.

On Friday, The African National Congress (ANC) issued a formal statement of support for Gordhan.

The statement, issued by Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, said it didn'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 said this suggested there was an intention to distract him at a crucial time and Mantashe said the action was mischievous.

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

The statement further said, "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."

Gordhan said that while he was grateful to the ANC for supporting the independence of institutions like Sars and the Treasury, there was a group of people who are not interested in the economic stability of the country, or the welfare of its people.