‘Hawks’ probe into Gordhan, Sars unit is a profound threat to SA economy’

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says the party is 'deeply concerned' over the matter.

FILE: DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Youtube screegrab.

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says the reported desire by the Hawks to investigate Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over the so-called the South African Revenue Service (Sars) rogue unit is a profound threat to the South African economy.

The _Sunday Times _reported yesterday that the Hawks want the minister to be prosecuted for "espionage" in relation to the unit's activities while Gordhan was at the helm.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams has confirmed a docket was submitted to provide further guidance to investigators but no decision has been made to make any arrests.

Maimane says the party is deeply concerned.

"It's a profound threat to the economic stability of South Africa. It puts a referendum on people not being able to invest in South Africa. So as a party, we express deep concern for this situation on behalf of the people of South Africa."

Meanwhile, the Congress of the People (Cope) says "continuous media leaks" are being used to intimidate Gordhan.

The opposition political party is accusing President Jacob Zuma of using the tactic to "infuriate" Gordhan "until he resigns."

LISTEN: Sipho Seepe: 'Sunday Times' arrest claims are questionable

Cope's Dennis Bloem has called for transparency.

"These people must come out very open to say what the charges are against Mr Pravin Gordhan. They must not do these type of things in intimidating this man. We are also saying, why is it that they are so hell-bent on charging him?"

Abrahams has c onfirmed the Hawks had referred a docket to prosecutors.

But, he says, the investigation is ongoing and no decision has been taken to charge or arrest anyone.

RAND AFFECTED

At the same time, concerns over political stability and a number of overseas factors have been highlighted as major forces behind the rand losing ground today.

Political tensions appear to have taken their toll on the rand following the Sunday Times report.

This has been denied by the Presidency but chief executive at Pan African Holdings, Dr Iraj Abedien says this has affected the rand.

"It's the lack of certainty and stability within the domestic political market, particularly around the issues concerning the minister of finance."

LISTEN: Presidency responds to reports of Pravin Gordhan's imminent arrest

He says Cabinet and Zuma need to show that they support the finance minister.

"It's the elephant in the room, as they say, the proxy war that has been happening."

Talk of raising interest rates in the United States have also affected emerging market currencies, which are battling against a strong dollar.

LISTEN: 'Hawks want to charge Gordhan to take him out of equation'

Additional reporting by Ray White.