Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan at the 2013 World Bank Group/Fund Annual Meetings on 10 October 2013.
JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan questioned the Hawks' motives following the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to charge him with fraud.
On Tuesday morning, NPA head Shaun Abrahams announced the action against Gordhan, for having approved the early retirement of former South African Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay in 2010.
Gordhan approved this when he was Sars commissioner. Pillay and former Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula will also be charged.
As Abrahams was making the announcement, Gordhan briefly stopped his own speech at the Open Tender Seminar to say that “the Hawks are at it again”.
He said he had received a phone call from his family earlier in the day to say that a brigadier had arrived at their home to hand him a summons.
When they didn’t find him there, they went to the Treasury’s offices, instead of going straight to his lawyer.
Gordhan questioned why this action was being taken 15 days before he was due to deliver the medium-term budget policy statement.
“If you remember last time it was just before and after the February budget. There’s something attractive about budgets – I’m not sure what it is.
“What is it about this country and some in this country, at a political level and in the law enforcement agencies, who choose these times to do these things?”
Gordhan lamented that he had just returned from trips abroad to reassure investors that South Africa’s economy was growing and to prevent ratings agencies from downgrading the country to junk status.
“This is a moment when South Africans should really ask themselves; who are the Hawks serving? Where do they get their political instructions from and for what purpose?”
Gordhan confirmed that he would be charged on 2 November.
Listen to the audio below, provided by PowerFM.