The power struggle between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Tax Commissioner Tom Moyane has gained weight and prominence after the duo made drama out of the ‘issue’.
Gordhan and Moyane are rubbing shoulders after the Hawks sent Gordhan a letter questioning his roles during his tenure as commissioner of the South African Revenue Services (Sars) from 1999 to 2009.
Business Day reports that “Gordhan … was (first) targeted after a leaked copy of a KPMG document reportedly recommended that he be questioned about the unit.”
According to BDLive, the Hawks via the letter want to know about Gordhan’s knowledge of an alleged rogue unit at the tax agency, employment of former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, Project Sunday Evening during which the National Prosecuting Authority was reportedly spied on and the involvement of Andries Van Rensburg, or “Skollie”, who left SARS under a cloud.
“A source with close access to Gordhan said the letter from the Hawks arrived late last week. He said it contained ‘nonsense questions’ and seemed calculated to destabilise the finance minister as he prepared his budget speech,” it said.
The tussle got heated before Gordhan was reappointed as Finance Minister, with Moyane using the controversial rogue report to topple senior SARS officials who were Gordhan’s allies. Reports also said a new inner circle loyal to Tom Moyane has now been formed in an alleged bid to defend President Zuma and his allies.
We will recall that on Monday, most South Africans were amazed at President Jacob Zuma when he said that former Finance Minister Des van Rooyen was the best he has ever worked with. However, the Hawks’ letter to Gordhan is considered to be the final straw that broke the camel’s back. And Gordhan has allegedly told Zuma last week: “Moyane must go or I must go”
Meanwhile, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has issued a formal statement of support for Gordhan. Mantashe assented that the letter and plots to undermine him. Mantashe said this in statement released today.
“The ANC commends the minister of finance and his team for the hard work and the energy that they invested thus far. We further reiterate our full confidence in the minister and his team for the work they continue to do.
“It is unfortunate that there are now initiatives that are intended to undermine this work, reverse the gains our economy has made and have a destabilising effect in the long-term.
|”We are extremely concerned that four days before the minister delivered the budget speech, questions from the Hawks were sent to the minister. The timing of these questions indicates clearly that there was intention to distract the minister during this important time. It is even more disconcerting that these questions were leaked to the media.
“In the event that the Hawks have anything to investigate related to the Minister and SARS, it would be in the best interest of our country if they did so professionally, using the correct channel and procedures and not seek to conduct a trial through the media,” Mantashe added.