Presidency: Zuma, Gordhan conflict speculation is hurtful and misleading

President Zuma has said that he reaffirmed his faith in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma during a meeting with business and labour leaders at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 May 2016. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency says claims that there is a dispute or a conflict between President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan are false.

Zuma has said today that he reaffirmed his faith in Gordhan and that he wants him to remain in his job.

Yesterday, the finance minister said he would not comply with a demand by the Hawks that he make himself available to answer questions under a legal warning about the creation of a controversial unit at the South African Revenue Service, while he was its commissioner.

The last few days have seen claims that the actions of the Hawks against Gordhan are the result of a dispute with President Zuma.

Zuma says Gordhan has his full confidence and support.

However, the president says he doesn't have the power to stop any investigations involving the finance minister.

His spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga says, "We are aware that there is broader speculation that is linking this investigation to government and state-owned institutions and we think that these speculations are hurtful, unhelpful and they are false and misleading."

Ngqulunga further says that interpretation of recent events is incorrect.

"The Hawks are an independent institution; President Zuma does not determine the investigation of the Hawks."

He says Zuma would have no motive to pressurise Minister Gordhan in this way.

"The president has no reason to interfere. Firstly because he has no powers, secondly he has no reason to have the Minister of Finance investigated. This is the minister of state that he himself has appointed as minister since 2009."

He's also denied claims that Gordhan will be removed from his office.

Earlier today, former South African Revenue Service officials Johann van Loggerenberg and Ivan Pillay appeared relaxed and thanked everyone for their support after their two-hour meeting with the Hawks.

Both offered no details on the meeting.

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