The Hawks Elite police unit on Tuesday said that it would make use of its constitutional powers against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan after he failed to meet the second deadline to answer its questions.
The animosity between the police unit and Minister Gordhan began in an alleged involvement in establishing a spy unit within the revenue collection service. However, Minister Gordhan dismissed it as a case of trying to tarnish his image and the Treasury’s credibility.
The deadline which was set for March 14 was ignored by Mr Gordhan which prompted the Hawks to release a statement threatening to use their “constitutional powers” against Mr Gordhan.
“This is neither a talk-show nor a soapie. We are mandated to investigate without fear, favor or prejudice,” it added, resorting to capitals to make its point.
“The minister, for whatever reasons, has failed to meet the SECOND deadline for answering questions and our legal team are forging a way forward which will see the Hawks exercising our constitutional powers.
“The investigations will not be stalled by an individual who refuses to comply with the authorities and demand a preferential treatment,” the Hawks said in a statement
Mr Gordhan who had once stated that he would take necessary legal action to protect himself from the attempt by the Hawks to discredit him and the Treasury through the investigation missed the first deadline because he was preparing the budget.
Concerning the second deadline, Gordhan stated that his attorneys sent a letter to the head of the police unit on & March indicating that the deadline was not feasible due to a roadshow he was engaged in. The investor roadshow took place in London and the United States.
“Our immediate task – all of us – is to avoid a downgrade and find urgent ways of growing our economy and creating jobs,” the minister said.
“Once again the Hawks, and those who instruct them, have no regard for the economic and social welfare of millions,” Gordhan’s statement said.