First on EWN: Trevor Manuel condemns Hawks probe into Gordhan

Trevor Manuel has labelled the Hawks' investigation into Minister Pravin Gordhan as “unseemly”.

Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has blasted the investigation by the Hawks into Pravin Gordhan, calling the probe an abuse of power.

Manuel has likened it to clandestine investigations conducted by security police during apartheid.

Gordhan and several other former revenue service officials are being investigated for a covert unit that operated at South African Revenue Service (Sars).

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He's calling on President Jacob Zuma to intervene.

The former minister has labelled the Hawks's investigation into Gordhan both "unseemly" and an abuse of power.

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Manuel says while he's confident no judge will find a case for Gordhan to answer, he doesn't believe this will stop the Hawks from persecuting the current minister.

"But it doesn't mean that they stop the harassment and this is where you move from the realm of what is lawful into unlawful conduct. But there are no brakes put on that unlawful conduct."

This reminds Manuel of tactics used by the apartheid government.

"For heaven's sake we went lived through it. We lived through it under apartheid. That was what the security police was about. That is what we spent years in detention about, because they could never bring a charge against us."

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He says this kind of conduct should not be tolerated in a democratic state with a strong Constitution.