News breaking through the daily maverick website, and then confirmed by EWN yesterday, that the Hawks have summoned Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and three other officials to answer questions under warning tomorrow.
The Hawks have claimed they’re investigating a unit set up at SARS while Gordhan was the organisation’s Commissioner. EWN's Barry Bateman joins Stephen Grootes on the line to discuss the impending meeting.
Bateman says that along with Gordhan, Ivan Pillay, Johan van Loggerenberg, and the head of the controversial Sars unit Andries Janse van Rensberg also known as 'Skollie', have been summoned by the Hawks tomorrow. They are expected to receive a warning statement, where they will be cautioned as suspects of their rights as accused.
This investigation has taken a very big step forward.— Barry Bateman, EWN
Though Bateman says it is unlikely Gordhan will be at tomorrow's meeting as he is due to appear in parliament, he is sure his legal team will negotiate another date and also release public statements to help steady a concerned market.
The Hawls are wanting answers along the lines of the 27 questions they sent the minister earlier in the year. It all realtes to the reseach group within Sars that was set up in 2007 and conducted investigations into the illicit economy, "tax evaders essentially", says Bateman.
The hawks allege the unit within Sars conducted covert operations that contravened two separate Acts one of which is the National Strategic Intelligence Act.
Alex Mashilo, National Spokesperson of the South African Communist Party, told Grootes that it must be noted that the issue around Gordhan and this unit subsided during election campaign.<span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; color:black">
It was as if there was a political decision taken that this must not be executed until the elections were concluded.— Alex Mashilo, National Spokesperson of the South African Communist Party
Mashilo also made clear that the credentials between Gordhan and hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza were very different. The former was on the side of the revolutionary forces fighting against apartheid, while the latter's track record was highly questionable.
There is the suggestion that this investigation is part of a fight for control of government resources.
The conduct of the Hawks throughout the process has been highly suspicious and contains contradictory statements.— Alex Mashilo, National Spokesperson of the South African Communist Party
Listen to the interviews below: