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Renewed concerns for SA economy amidst spat between Hawks & Gordhan

The rand suffered losses after it emerged Gordhan has been instructed to present himself to the Hawks.

FILE: South African money. Picture: Gadeeja Abbas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There are renewed concerns that the continuous spat between the Hawks and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will continue to adversely affect the country's already ailing economy.

On Tuesday, the rand suffered losses against all major currencies after it emerged Gordhan and three former South African Revenue Services (Sars) officials were instructed to present themselves to the Hawks today for a warning statement.

The minister has since said he is under no obligation to do so.

Economist Mike Schussler says: "I think it's a very big concern for the rating agencies and that should be even bigger concern because that could get us a longer term downgrade."

Meanwhile, political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says this spat has the African National Congress (ANC)'s factional battles written all over it.

"Because ANC now which is the governing party is clearing its road now for the leadership election and factions are going to start showing colours and the temporary unity they were showing may begin to peel at this moment."

HAWKS MUM ON ACTION

The Hawks have remained mum on what action it will take against Gordhan after he said he will not be presenting himself to the unit for a warning statement today.

Yesterday, Gordhan indicated he is under no legal obligation to do so.

The minister and three other former Sars officials have been identified as suspects in an investigation into the nature and conduct of a now disbanded Sars investigation unit.

Gordhan says he will not be at the Hawks offices today because he was assured by the same unit that he's not a suspect in the investigation and that he provided a comprehensive account on matters the unit needed clarity on.

Legal expert Cathy Powell says there is something wrong with the Hawks ordering Gordhan to show up for a warning statement when in fact the unit doesn't have prima-facie evidence against him.

"They haven't mentioned any crimes and they haven't provided any evidence that will basically convey what he's been accused for that Gordhan has got a case to answer."

Powell says now that the minister won't be appearing before the Hawks, the unit might refer the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority for the NDPP to make a final decision.

The Hawks believe Gordhan contravened sections of the Public Finance Management Act, the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act as well as the National Strategic Intelligence Act.