African National Congress (ANC) veteran and long-serving NEC member Joel Netshitenzhe has joined the ranks of party stalwarts who have raised concerns about the public spat between the Hawks and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. He says the protracted investigation isn’t inspiring confidence among members of its top decision-making body.
In an interview with EWN, the former head of government’s communications department and Thabo Mbeki loyalist, said he found it “strange” how the elite police priority crime fighting unit had handled its investigation of Gordhan and that it appeared to be politically motivated.
“The reality of the matter is, if you were to contrast this with the reports that emerged about one of the senior leaders of Sars [Jonas Makwakwa], you then pose the question how serious are those allegations made against the finance minister compared to this recent one,” said Netshitenzhe.
On Thursday, SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane announced the suspension of its chief officer for business and individual taxes, Makwakwa. He faces an investigation into allegations of misconduct over “suspicious and unusual” transactions he received, totalling R1.2m over a period of six years.
When Netshitenzhe was asked if he thought President Jacob Zuma was the right man to lead the country and the liberation movement, he said the jury was still out on whether he would see through his term until 2019.
On Wednesday, the ANC’s head of economic transformation, Enoch Godongwana spoke publicly for the first time as a senior party leader denouncing the investigation by the Hawks as politically motivated.
Godongwana said he believed the probe was intended to weaken the Gordhan’s fight against corruption at state-owned enterprises.
Gordhan is alleged to have established an illegal covert intelligence-gathering unit during his time as Sars commissioner and contravening anti-corruption legislation. However, concrete evidence to substantiate either charge is yet to come to light.