Gordhan wants to know... Who do the Hawks serve? Who gives them orders? What is their purpose?
PRAVIN GORDHAN tried to play it cool when he said he was to face fraud charges.
But his fury at the Hawks was thinly disguised.
WHO ARE THEY SERVING? WHERE DO THEIR ORDERS COME FROM? HE ASKED.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan questioned the motives behind the decision as the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the bombshell yesterday.
Gordhan was addressing a function at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, only a few kilometres away from where NPA head, Advocate Shaun Abrahams
announced that Gordhan had been summonsed to appear in court.
The announcement sent shock waves through politics and sent the rand into free fall. The JSE lost at least R50 billion.
Abrahams told journalists that Gordhan was to appear in court on 2 November for fraud. The charge relates to Gordhan approving the early retirement pension payout of former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
There were reports that Gordhan might still be charged for his alleged role in the so-called SARS rogue unit.
Abrahams denied that the decision to charge Gordhan was politically influenced, but addressing the Gallagher event, Gordhan hinted at this.
He also questioned the timing of the decision to charge him. He is due to table his midterm budget in parliament in two weeks time. “If you remember, the last time it was just before and after the February budget. There’s something attractive about budgets,” he said.
Gordhan said he would go to the police station to have his fingerprints taken and will appear in court. “Who chose these times to do these things?” he asked.
“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?”
He said a police officer went to his home looking for him to serve the summons.
The officer later went to the Treasury offices even though he could have gone to Gordhan’s lawyers.
“We have just come back from an international tour telling investors we are fine, to invest in South Africa, don’t put us into junk,” he said.
The decision has triggered responses from both political and civil society.
The ANC said it hoped this will finally bring the matter to a close as the investigation had a detrimental effect on the South African economy.
“We trust that today’s announcement will move us a step closer to uncovering the truth,” it said , urging Gordhan to co-operate.
But the ANC’s alliance partner, the SACP said this was just a pretext to weaken the National Treasury’s struggle led by Gordhan against corruption and corporate capture.
On Twitter, EFF leader Julius Malema labelled the move a Zuma fightback because of evidence presented to the Public Protector on state capture.
Malema tweeted: “We support Pravin and not criminals. On 2 November all those who love our country and its constitution must occupy the streets of Pretoria to support our democracy.” Business Unity SA said the timing was most unfortunate.