Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s legal team have released a statement, slamming the Hawks for the manner in which the situation has been handled.They said the Hawks handled the matter inappropriately.
“They never had the courtesy to notify the Minister that, contrary to General Ntlemeza’s assurance, he was a suspect in the investigation,” it says.
“The Hawks did nothing to dampen the media frenzy. On the contrary, their handling of the matter seemed to have been designed to trigger a media event to humiliate the Minister.”
They denied that Gordhan refused to cooperate, saying that he has invited the Hawks to question him further. The Hawks have alleged that the Minister is being difficult.
“Nothing can be further from the truth,” says the statement by Gildenhuys Malatji, a reputable law firm. “The Minister responded fully to all the Hawks’ enquiries, offered to provide any further assistance they might require and scrupulously acted in accordance with the law.”
“We received a letter from the Hawks out of the blue on Monday 22 August 2016 calling on the Minister to attend at their offices on Thursday 25 August 2016 to make a “warning statement” about two matters – the establishment of the SARS investigating unit and the early retirement and re-appointment of the Deputy Commissioner of SARS Mr Ivan Pillay.”
When this letter was leaked to the public, speculation began that Gordhan was likely to be arrested, creating chaos in the SA economy.
According to the statement, the Hawks have thus far not responded to the Minister’s offer to continue his cooperation.