Connect a new set of dots: Pravin Gordhan fights back against latest subpoena
The public protector has asked public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to explain why he "instructed" revenue service Sars to probe the tax affairs of EFF leader Julius Malema during Gordhan's tenure as finance minister.
The request forms part of a fresh subpoena served on Gordhan requesting him to submit an affidavit to public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane by April 23 in relation to the so-called Sars "rogue unit" and other issues.
Gordhan's spokesperson, Adrian Lackay, said on Thursday that the subpoena had been leaked to the media, and the minister was in the process of consulting counsel to determine the most appropriate legal response to it. He said the subpoena amounted to persistent harassment of Gordhan.
The subpoena, based on a complaint by EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, requests Gordhan to submit an affidavit on why he allegedly instructed Sars to probe Malema's tax affairs without a legal basis when he was finance minister in 2012.
It also questions the allegedly irregular extension of a Sars IT contract; accuses Gordhan of failing to disclose that he met with a member of the Gupta family; and questions the establishment of an intelligence unit when Gordhan was the Sars commissioner.
"The same set of allegations [about the 'rogue unit’] have been investigated repeatedly by various institutions - including the office of the public protector in 2014 - and no conclusive evidence could be found of any illegality by [Sars] or minister Gordhan," said Lackay on Thursday.
"This is also another example of a fight-back campaign to disrupt efforts to uncover and prosecute instances of malfeasance and corruption in various entities of government.
"We must once again call on the South African public to connect a new set of dots and get an appreciation for the determined efforts to distract public attention from the broad attempts to ensure clean governance in our country," added Lackay.
TimesLIVE reported in November 2018 that Gordan clarified questions about him meeting the Gupta family during his evidence before the state capture commission.
"I want to make it absolutely clear that, whatever the interactions might have been, there was no so-called meeting where two people sit [and] they transact. There were interactions or we happened to be in the same place," said Gordhan at the time.