Hawks deny Gordhan targeted

Police have denied being part of a political conspiracy targeting Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, it was reported yesterday, after the DA described the Hawks’ investigation into Gordhan as a “witch-hunt”.

Gordhan was summoned by the elite Hawks police unit over a suspected surveillance unit set up years ago when he was in charge of the South African Revenue Service, which was alleged to have been used to spy on politicians including President Jacob Zuma.

The minister on Wednesday declined to meet the Hawks, saying he had done nothing wrong and had no legal obligation to obey a summons from the unit to attend a meeting on Thursday.

In the first detailed remarks since Tuesday when news emerged that Gordhan had been summoned by police, Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said the unit was not targeting Gordhan.

“How many cases are we dealing with every day? A lot. How many high-profile cases do we investigate? A lot.

“It’s our mandate and we are just doing our job. We deny these allegations. We are shocked,” Mulaudzi said, according to City Press newspaper.

Mulaudzi was not available when attempts were made to reach him for comment.

Mulaudzi reportedly declined to say whether Gordhan’s refusal to report to the Hawks meant that he would be arrested .

“I’m not at liberty to say how this will unfold,” he said, according to the newspaper.

The DA has called for a parliamentary debate on what it called a “Zuma-mandated witch-hunt against sitting Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan”.

Former president FW de Klerk also weighed in on the furore surrounding Gordhan yesterday.

JacarandaFM reported that De Klerk‚ speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Centre for Unity in Diversity in Johannesburg ‚ said: “What is happening around the minister of finance is a tragedy.” He went on to say that the “form of arrogance” displayed by the Hawks was unacceptable and “harming the interests of all South Africans”.

De Klerk‚ who won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize alongside the late Nelson Mandela‚ said the country was not being governed well.

“I think the fight against corruption is not an effective fight,” he said.

“Corruption is taking place hand-over-hand and is still growing. I think cadre employment has hurt our economy and effective service delivery. “I’m highly critical of President Zuma’s regime and the lack of good governance we are experiencing‚” De Klerk said.