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Hawks blast Gordhan for ‘misleading’ claims

The Hawks say Gordhan received the letter, but sent a written response via his legal representatives.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks have issued a hard-hitting statement describing as "disturbing" Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's handling of their South African Revenue Service (Sars)- related questions.

The elite police unit claims Gordhan must have known that a second deadline had been set, which expired yesterday, and have blamed him directly for leaving them no choice but to explore their next legal step.

This comes as Gordhan tries to save South Africa's economy from a downgrade, which would have severe consequences on the country.

In a statement released by the Hawks today, the unit says the minister left the unit with no choice but to clear the air, set the record straight and restore public's trust in them.

It further states that Gordhan received the letter, but instead of providing the Hawks with answers, he sent them a written response via his legal representatives, Gildenhuys Malatji Attorneys.

The Hawks' statement opens with a timeline of their correspondence with Gordhan and claims there's no way he wasn't aware of the latest deadline.

It then criticises the minister for addressing the issue at a public briefing, saying that had he simply complied by answering the 27 questions, the situation would not have deteriorated.

The Hawks accuse Gordhan of believing he's entitled to preferential treatment and say that the unit's legal team is 'forging a way forward'.

One of the main questions Gordhan has raised is what law he's accused of breaking and what legal authority the Hawks are operating under in this investigation.

A team from global ratings agency, Moody's, is due to arrive in South Africa tomorrow.

Click here for the Hawks' full statement.