Public protector Thuli Madonsela says the recent battle between the Hawks and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has made her wonder whether she is next.
After a Women’s Month lunch on Friday, Madonsela said: “I do not want to get into [a discussion about] law enforcement, but for me, personally, it worries me what is happening to Minister Gordhan.”
Gordhan is supposedly being investigated for his role in setting up a specialised investigating unit within SARS along with four other former SARS top officials – Ivan Pillay, Johann van Loggerenberg, Pete Richer and Andries van Rensburg.
He maintains that he has broken no law.
Yesterday, City Press reported that the Hawks’ investigation was in high gear, with 30 witnesses lined up to testify against Gordhan. The case docket was referred to the National Prosecuting Authority on Friday.
Madonsela said the way in which the Hawks had conducted their investigation was worrying to her because she too had been sent questions, but the Hawks subsequently denied that she was being investigated .
In May, Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said Gordhan was not under investigation but “was only sent clarity-seeking questions”.
“There is no investigation against the minister, finish and klaar,” Mulaudzi said at the time.
Madonsela said the Hawks “owe the nation an explanation”.
“What I find strange is that the Hawks earlier this year issued written advisories saying they are not investigating Pravin Gordhan, they’re not investigating me,” she said. “I think Minister Gordhan has raised that issue.
“I haven’t seen a written response that says we were telling the truth when we said we were not investigating.”
Last year, Madonsela said the Hawks were investigating her for perjury, for an apparent discrepancy in explaining the powers of her office in two separate affidavits before court.
The Hawks vehemently denied that there was any investigation.
“For me it is amazing but it is also worrying because they did exactly what they did to Pravin Gordhan, where they issued an advisory to the public to say they were just inquiring.
“The question I have in my mind is that will they just spring on me, one of these good days and say, ‘We have now concluded the investigation,’ when they told the world that there was no investigation.
“I think they do owe the nation an explanation around when they say they are not investigating, what does it mean.”
Meanwhile, the Hawks have refused to comment on their investigation into Gordhan.