The EFF on Wednesday called on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to reconsider his decision to not present himself to the Hawks, even though the party believes he is innocent.
“The last thing we need is anyone being treated as if they are above the law. At all times, we ought to respect institutions of the state and uphold them above individuals who may be at their helm,” spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.
EFF president Julius Malema said Gordhan should not be a “cry baby”. He should simply go to see the Hawks, otherwise there would always be a dark cloud hanging over him.
Ndlozi said: “To refuse to present himself to the Hawks will be to act with the same disrespect shown by Zuma and his faction to institutions of the state. No one, even if they be finance minister or president, is above institutions of the state.”
The EFF described the move by the Hawks as part of an unrelenting pursuit by ANC factions to criminalise the minister. It appeared they were “gunning for Treasury under the instruction of the Gupta family”.
Under no obligation
“We all should not be seen to defy institutions of the state, as this will render them useless.”
Gordhan said on Wednesday that he was asked to present himself to the Hawks’ offices on Thursday to provide a warning statement. He said he had taken legal advice and was under no obligation to do so.
He said the head of the Hawks, General Berning Ntlemeza, told him on May 20, 2016, in response to his attorney’s inquiry, that he was not being investigated. He said he had already answered the 27 questions they sent him and he believed any allegations against him were wholly unfounded.
Gordhan allegedly acted corruptly by granting early retirement to the former deputy head of Sars, Ivan Pillay, and then approving his re-appointment as deputy commissioner on a contract basis for three years.
The Hawks are further investigating Gordhan for the alleged creation of an intelligence unit within Sars. He was Sars commissioner between 1999 and 2009.
On Thursday morning, Pillay and former Sars group executive Johann van Loggerenberg are expected to visit the Hawks’ office in Pretoria to provide warning statements.