‘I will continue doing my job. I won’t be deterred by Hawks’ harassment’: Gordhan
The National Treasury did not pull any punches and said of Tuesday’s announcement of summons being issued against Minister Pravin Gordhan that “legal proceedings are contaminated by abuse for political ends”. Gordhan himself threw down a gauntlet‚ vowing to “continue doing my job” and adding: “The cause of defending ethical leadership in government and throughout society is too important to allow ourselves to be deterred by this kind of harassment.“The fight against corruption‚ maladministration‚ and waste of public resources will continue‚” he said.Treasury noted that Gordhan’s fate could lie in Jacob Zuma’s hands‚ saying that “he will continue to serve the country and advance these objectives as long as called to do so by the president”.Zuma raised suspicions of Gordhan being removed from Cabinet when he omitted him from the newly appointed ministerial task team appointed to tackle the higher education crisis on Tuesday. The Presidency later on Tuesday issued a statement saying Zuma supported Gordhan.Treasury’s statement claimed that the National Director of Public Prosecutions‚ advocate Shaun Abrahams‚ had made the announcement of the fraud charges “without the courtesy of a prior indication” and “convened a press conference to unveil a set of charges that are patently without merit”.It said that despite the minister’s legal team having “had extensive interactions with the Hawks over the last six months‚ including providing for clear communication channels in the event that any further legal proceedings are initiated”‚ the “Hawks chose to arrive unannounced at the Minister’s private residence this morning”.“On being told that the minister has left for another engagement they proceded to the National Treasury offices and served the summons‚” the statement said‚ adding that Abrahams spoke to the press “shortly thereafter”.It described content of Abrahams’ summons to be of an “an administrative – not criminal – nature”.“It is quite clear that these legal proceedings are contaminated by abuse for political ends‚” Treasury said.Gordhan too queried this is in an address to the Gauteng Open Tender Seminar on Tuesday morning: “This is a moment where all South Africans need to ask whose interests these people in the Hawks‚ the NPA and the NDPP are advancing.”This was met with a standing ovation and an endorsement from Gauteng Premier David Makhura‚ who praised Gordhan for his “ethical leadership”.Treasury questioned the timing of the announcement‚ saying: “It is most unfortunate that the Hawks have‚ once again‚ chosen to initiate legal proceedings at a moment that appears calculated to maximise the damage inflicted on the economic wellbeing of South Africans and essential processes of government.”It noted that the announcement came as Gordhan is preparing to table the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on October 26. “Gordhan wishes to place on record that he will continue to cooperate fully and in an exemplary manner in the execution of all legal requirements that are placed upon him‚” Treasury said. – TMG Digital..