Hawks still mum on Gordhan summons over Sars unit

The National Treasury has confirmed that Gordhan received correspondence from the Hawks on Monday.

FILE: Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As the Treasury has confirmed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is talking to his lawyers, the Hawks still will not comment on reports that he's been summoned to answer questions about a controversial South African Revenue Services (Sars) unit.

Yesterday, the Daily Maverick website said Gordhan and four other Sars officials had been told they must report to the Hawks tomorrow to be interviewed about the claims against them.

The Sunday Times had claimed a unit created while Gordhan was running Sars had spied on people before apologising and retracting the claim.

The National Treasury has confirmed that Gordhan received correspondence from the Hawks on Monday and that he's now taking legal advice.

The ministry also says he's not going to comment at this stage.

But already some investors have said they believe this is a bid to weaken Gordhan, after the Cabinet lekgotla appeared to resolve that State-owned enterprises will now be overseen by a new committee chaired by President Jacob Zuma.

The presidency has also denied reports that Zuma and Gordhan are in a dispute over South African Airways, which is chaired by Dudu Myeni, who is also the chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Meanwhile, the rand lost significant value against other major currencies yesterday due to this development.

Financial analyst Peter Attard Montalto said: "The investors are going to get very nervous. They basically realised that over the last couple of days that we've priced out political risk in South Africa to zero and this is the wake-up call saying that political risk shouldn't actually be zero."

International investors are watching the situation around Gordhan anxiously after he was summoned by the Hawks over the controversial rogue unit.

Currency trader Bridgid Taylor says this sends the wrong message to investors.

"The real question is what political agenda is happening in the background and why are we seeing this type fallout when we know the ramifications. This is not something we've not seen before."