A recent statement issued by the South African Police Service detailed the fact that current finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, might be facing legal action. This is based on the fact that Gordhan has failed to co-operate with an investigation into possible illegal surveillance at the South African Revenue Service.
Gordhan is believed to have been involved in the establishment of a ‘spy unit’ during his tenure as head of SARS. In order to ascertain the legitimacy of this involvement, the SAPS has attempted to make contact with Gordhan on two occasions – both of which have received no or little co-operation.
After Gordhan failed to meet the second deadline for questioning on March the 14th, the elite police unit known as the Hawks has issued a statement claiming that it is prepared to use the powers appointed to it by the constitution in order to gain some clarity with regards to the investigation.
SAPS Hawks Airs its Frustrations
In its statement, the Hawks unit compared the saga to that akin to a popular culture television show. It resorted to the use of capitalisation in order to stress that Gordhan has twice failed to co-operate with questioning attempts. The statement reiterated that fact that the Hawks unit is charged with the task of investigating free of any prejudice, favour, or fear.
Gordhan did not respond favourably, indicating that the investigation has resorted to a smear campaign. The finance minister feels that the investigation is aimed at nothing more than an attempt to smear the reputations of both himself and the Treasury.
Gordhan also criticised the Hawks statement as being factually incorrect, stating that he had not received a second request for questions from the SAPS. As a result, Gordhan has taken legal action in order to defend himself.
Economy Suffers as a Result of Public Row
The very public quarrel between the Hawks and Gordhan has had a negative effect on the rand, which fell roughly three percent following the Hawks’ statement, settling at around R16 to the dollar.
Market analysts have sensed that neither side is willing to back down and eventually the situation will take a drastic turn, which will affect the confidence of investors. And, with South Africa just one notch away from losing its investor status on the credit rating scale, the last thing the national economy needs is a loss of confidence on the part of investors.