The Sunday Times has reported that the Hawks have even approached former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in their desperation to find a charge capable of sticking against his predecessor and eventual hastily reinstalled successor, Pravin Gordhan.
Many legal experts have commented that the basis of the Hawks’ case appears to be legally thin and driven instead by a political agenda.
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The paper revealed that the Hawks met Nene on Thursday, though Nene did not confirm nor deny this. Treasury insiders told the paper it was unlikely, however, that Nene would be interested in helping the Hawks and testifying against Gordhan, since he and the current finance minister had always enjoyed a cordial relationship.
Nene was unexpectedly removed as finance minister in December, sparking economic panic that drove the rand down to R18 to the dollar. Matters only calmed when Gordhan was reinstated by President Jacob Zuma in the role four days after little-known back-bencher Des van Rooyen was sworn in as finance minister and then hastily removed.
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Another setback for the Hawks appears to be that former SA Revenue Service commissioner Oupa Magashule has, according to the Sunday Times, told the elite police unit that he will not be testifying against Gordhan, despite the fact that Gordhan was in charge when he was supposedly forced to resign as commissioner after he allegedly offered a chartered accountant a job inappropriately. It’s understood that Magashule would have been key to making a case that Gordhan and his colleagues were illegally spying on taxpayers.
City Press also reported on Sunday that the reason Gordhan has been under such constant attack is due to the fact that Treasury has oversight powers over procurement processes and the capacity to monitor financial crimes. According to its sources, the ANC has been speaking about the fact that Treasury is supposedly “too powerful”.
A high-ranking ANC leader told the paper that the conflict over Treasury was the fact that in its current state it was pushing an agenda of “compliance” instead of “performance”, meaning that the party wanted the financial arm of government to move towards delivering change for the country instead of being focused primarily on achieving clean audits. He added that Treasury was “way more powerful than it is supposed to be”.