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Mbeki won't comment on Sars unit

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation says it would be unwise for the former president to comment on claims.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki says he'll not be commenting on claims that people may have used his name to convince a South African Revenue Service (Sars) unit to spy on their enemies, because he hasn't been formally briefed on the issue.

Yesterday, the _Star _newspaper said he could end up being linked to the Sars drama because of documents suggesting people had been claiming to act in his name, while arranging for certain people to be spied upon.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said he wasn't yet able to respond to questions from the Hawks about his role in the unit's creation, while also asking if any particular offence was being investigated.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation says it would be unwise for the former president to comment on these claims, which may not help to build strong and credible state institutions.

The foundation adds the socio-economic problems facing the country are glaringly obvious and needs the focused attention from all its leaders.

Mbeki's foundation goes on to say that "taking our eyes of the challenges, dragging each other's names through the mud and creating absurd theatrical sideshows will not help the country".