Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has fired another broadside at the Hawks by releasing all – or at least most – of the communiqués between the unit and himself into the public domain.
Among the correspondence, a letter by the Hawks head of organised crime, Major General MS Ledwaba, in August to Gordhan’s attorney Tebogo Malatji states that “the minister must be processed like any other person who is suspected of committing an offence” and that the “taking of a warning statement requires a suspect to come in person for warning statement (sic)…”
Processed “like any other person” is an odd statement to make in this circumstance, Malatji told The Citizen.
“Firstly, he was never a suspect. It has been placed on record by the Hawks. So how do you process him ‘like any other person’ if you previously confirmed he is not a suspect?”
Secondly, Malatji noted, the basis for regarding Minister Gordhan as a suspect was simply not sustainable.
“There is no decision on whether or not to prosecute by the director of public prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority.
“Why must he be subjected to a threat of arrest when he is a reputable citizen of good standing; they know where he stays, where his offices are in Pretoria and in Cape Town,” said Malatji.
He added that the minister had asked him to clarify the perceptions of some that he has not cooperated with the Hawks and that he acts as if he is above the law and state institutions.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Malatji stated unequivocally.
“The minister responded fully to all the Hawks’ enquiries, offered to provide any further assistance they might require and scrupulously acted in accordance with the law.”
Malatji said Gordhan had obeyed the law at all times. “He has repeatedly offered such further assistance as they might require.
They have not responded to his repeated invitations. The minister, however, again repeats his offer of assistance.”
The Hawks did not comment.