Former deputy Sars Commissioner Ivan Pillay and the former head of a specialist unit Johan van Loggerenberg are currently answering questions under warning at Hawks headquarters in Tshwane.
Earlier this week it emerged the Hawks demanded that finance minister Pravin Gordhan present himself to answer questions along with Pillay and Van Loggerenberg, after the unit said it was investigating a rogue unit set up while Gordhan was SARS commissioner.
The Hawks have also said they believe an offense was committed because he approved a payout for Pillay. Gordhan has refused to present himself, saying no offense has been committed with regard to the setting up of this unit, and that he was not the Commissioner of Sars when the decision to make the payout to Pillay was made.
Today the presidency has issued a statement saying the president does not have the authority to stop an investigation into any person.
Spokesperson for president Jacob Zuma, Dr Bongani Ngqulunga joined Stephen Grootes on The Midday Report on the line from Tshwane.
The President has made it clear he has full support in the minister and confidence in the minister, and that the minister has not been found guilty of any wrong-doing... but we emphasise that President Zuma... does not have any power to stop an investigation into any individual.— Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, Spokesperson for The Presidency
Ngqulunga says the Hawks are an independent institution. President Zuma does not appoint the head of the Hawks, he added, when asked by Grootes if Berning Ntlemeza was a 'fit and 'proper person to lead the unit.
He denies there is any conflict between the president and the finance minister.
It's President Zuma who appointed him in the first place, and then reappointed him again, and they have been working very closely together.— Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, Spokesperson for The Presidency
Any suggestion that there is a rift between the president and finance minister is false— Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, Spokesperson for The Presidency
Ngqulunga stated that the people of South Africa have shown their trust in President Zuma.
President Zuma has been elected by South Africa's people not once, but twice.— Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, Spokesperson for The Presidency
He says the president has acted in accordance with the Constitution.
Ngqulunga reiterated that Zuma was in no way involved in the decision to investigate Gordhan.
Listen to the full interview below:
This article first appeared on 702 : No rift between Zuma and Gordhan: Presidency