The lead report in today’s paper by Amanda Watson cuts through a lot of the confusion around the Hawks’ supposed attempts to build a case against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Those who are clearly sympathetic to President Jacob Zuma have asked the question of why Gordhan should somehow be treated differently to anyone else. If he has a case to answer for, let him be arrested and made to stand trial…
That’s all well and good, but for someone to be arrested, there has to be probable cause, and that’s where the Hawks appear to be stuck. They first became interested when the Sunday Times started spreading sensational lies about some sort of SA Revenue Service (Sars) “rogue unit” that was established while Gordhan was the tax commissioner. They got even more excited about it after Gordhan was reappointed as finance minister last year.
Now, however, the Sunday Times has admitted it was led up the garden path and has withdrawn its allegations. The State Security Agency has also never found anything wrong with the actions of Sars or any of its units, covert or not.
What, then, could possibly be left to investigate? There is no case. Were the Hawks to arrest Gordhan now, it would be nothing but a witch-hunt, a police hatchet job that would shatter the economy and, by extension, hurt almost every South African, bar a small elite with something to hide.
What are they hiding? Well, just ask Amanda Watson. The Citizen has been privy to the solid anti-crime and corruption work Sars was doing before the attacks against them began.
They were building cases against top government officials, policemen, prosecutors, known criminals, big business and other shady figures.
Even the Hawks appear to have a case to answer. So for them to be investigating the very people who were building a valid case against them is a bizarre irony that all South Africans should reject as one.
Let the truth be told and let the real criminals fall.