Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s job is not in jeopardy, the Presidency said on Monday. By Genevieve Quintal, NewsAgency
“The President wishes to emphasise that Minister Gordhan remains the Minister of Finance and any positing that the position of the Minister is under any threat is dismissed with the contempt it deserves,” spokesperson Bongani Majola said.
Reports emerged on Friday that Gordhan threatened to resign shortly before his Budget Speech last week after he received a list of 27 questions from the Hawks investigating the operation of a rogue unit at Sars.
The Hawks on Monday denied that they are investigating the minister.
“We can confirm that as the Hawks we are investigating a case concerning the alleged illegal operations by a so-called ‘rogue unit’ within the South African Revenue Services (Sars), not Mr Gordhan per se,” the unit said in a statement.
The minister had also reportedly given President Jacob Zuma an ultimatum, saying that either South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane or he must go.
In December last year, Zuma replaced respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene with ANC backbencher Des van Rooyen. Following a public outcry, Zuma replaced Van Rooyen with Gordhan and made Van Rooyen cooperative governance minister.
Since then, insiders say ANC leaders have given Gordhan a mandate to do whatever needs to be done to prevent South Africa from being downgraded to junk status.
Last week, however, Zuma told reporters that Van Rooyen was the most qualified finance minister he had ever appointed, prompting speculation of tensions between Zuma and Gordhan.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Friday expressed the ruling party’s support for Gordhan.
The Presidency on Monday denied that there is any tension between Zuma and Gordhan, or that there is a “war” at Sars.
“This is a total fabrication and mischievous sensationalism,” Majola said.
He said media reports that Zuma should dismiss Moyane are also not helpful.
“There are prescripts within government which stipulate the processes to be utilised to resolve labour relations issues or disputes within the work environment.
“The difficulty in the relationship between the Minister of Finance and the Sars commissioner is being dealt with through the correct channels using the correct legal prescripts,” Majola said.
Zuma had already started meeting with Gordhan and Moyane on the matter before the State of the Nation Address earlier this month, he said,
Measures are being putting place to address the issues responsibly and amicably, for the benefit of all.
“We urge interested parties to exercise calm and restraint and allow space for the matters to be resolved using correct channels,” said Majola. – News24