Chorus of support grows for Gordhan

Those in support of Pravin Gordhan say there is a politically motivated bid to discredit him.

FILE: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) says it is deeply concerned over what it regards as an attack on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan and three former South African Revenue Services (Sars) officials were this week instructed to appear before the Hawks.

But Gordhan refused to accede to the unit's request, saying they have no legal basis to institute charges against him.

WATCH: Gordhan explains why he refused Hawks request

The CDE says there's a politically motivated bid to discredit the finance minister and to create a seemingly rational basis for removing him from office.

The organisation says if the Hawks are successful, the loss of confidence in the direction of the country would be justified with dire consequences for South Africa's economy.

It says that nothing in the public domain suggests there is any merit to the case against Gordhan.

Meanwhile, speaking at African National Congress stalwart Makhenkesi Stofile's funeral in the Eastern Cape yesterday, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa used the occasion to give Gordhan his full backing.

"I would like to pledge my total confidence in the minister of finance in the way he's been doing his work."

The South African Communist Party has also pledged its support, saying he should not give in to intimidation.

At the same time, a group of 70 academics have added their voice to the ongoing battle between Gordhan and the Hawks.

In a letter, the academics noted that since early this year, Gordhan has been subjected to an unrelenting attack from the Hawks and want the president to intervene.

Amid questions about possible political motives behind the move by the Hawks against Gordhan, both the president and deputy president have also expressed their confidence in Gordhan.

Zuma's office said this week that claims of a dispute between him and the finance minister are false and he wants Gordhan to stay in his job.