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Thu Aug 25 08:20:51 SAST 2016

Zuma must bite the bullet and end the SARS-Treasury war

The Times Editorial | 01 March, 2016 00:26

Decisive intervention is needed to end the "war" between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and tax boss Tom Moyane - and no one other than President Jacob Zuma can provide it.

Now is the time to stop the talk and take bold decisions that will put an end to the rift.

Yesterday Zuma issued another statement on the confrontation and again called for calm.

He said the problems between Gordhan and the SARS boss were being dealt with through the correct channels using the correct legal prescripts.

The president said he had been dealing with the matter even before the State of the Nation and Budget speeches last week.

Although we support Zuma's efforts to bring closure to this dispute, we are duty-bound to ask: Why is it taking so long, Mr President?

South Africa cannot afford to be caught up in this war, which threatens our economy and country.

The Hawks are investigating allegations of a "rogue unit" operating within SARS and the question is: Who is the investigation targeting?

It is not very enlightening for the Hawks to say that Gordhan is not the target.

By extension, then, the investigation is directed at everyone, including Gordhan as head of SARS at that time.

The conduct of the law enforcement agencies should not feed into perceptions that they are being used to settle political scores. The demise of the Scorpions was a result of accusations that they were the tool of politicians.

The longer it takes Zuma to settle the matter, the more the battle will spill over into other sectors of society.

We are encouraged by Luthuli House and others asking for sanity to prevail. It is even more encouraging that South Africans at large are expressing their views.

A silent society runs the risk of having its future decided in dark corners by individuals whose sole concern is self-preservation and the continuance of privilege.

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