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SA business leaders call on Zuma to intervene in Hawks & Gordhan spat

Business leaders warned that the spat threatens to undo the gains the country has made.

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 - A group of South African business leaders have called on President Jacob Zuma to intervene and stop what they call attacks on the finance minister by the Hawks, warning it threatens to devastate the economy.

Business Leadership South Africa penned an open letter to the president yesterday after Pravin Gordhan said he would not be presenting himself to the Hawks today to present a warning letter.

Gordhan and three former South African Revenue Services (Sars) officials have been identified as suspects in an investigation into the nature and conduct of a now disbanded Sars investigation unit.

Business Leadership South Africa president Saki Maconzoma says the country made progress over the last eighteen months to stave off a ratings downgrade to junk status.

He is now warning that all that work stands to be undermined if the spat between the Hawks and the finance minister continues.

"If this is allowed to continue we're getting closer to abuse in respect to our economy."

He says the president needs to do something urgently.

"He should take leadership in this matter and get evidence if he's got evidence that there's a case or no case against the minister."

The group says the Hawks' investigation of Gordhan lacks legitimacy or credibility and adds if there is to be an investigation into the issue it should be conducted by the credible institution such as the public protector.