S. African president will not stop probe into finmin

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says he will not appear before police

S. African president will not stop probe into finmin

World Bulletin / News Desk

South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday he had no powers to stop a current police investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. 

Gordhan has been accused by the elite police unit, the Hawks of illegally establishing a unit investigating organized crime and tax evasion at the South African Revenue Services (SARS) which he headed from 1999-2009. 

“The Presidency wishes to emphasize that President Zuma does not have powers to stop any investigations into any individual,” a statement from Zuma’s office said, adding he still had full confidence in him. 

On Wednesday night, Gordhan said he would not appear before the Hawks Thursday in spite of police instruction to do so. 

The minister said his legal team had advised him that under no obligation should he visit the Hawks. 

Zuma said that regardless of the negative effects on the economy caused by the issue, he could not intervene unconstitutionally to stop the investigation. 

“Our constitutional democracy, strength of our state institutions and the effectiveness of our courts in upholding and protecting rights is our guarantee of justice and fairness,” he said. 

South Africa’s currency the rand fell by 1 percent against the U.S. dollar Wednesday following the announcement that the minister had been requested to appear before the Hawks. 

Political analysts have accused Zuma of having a hand in the ongoing investigations against Gordhan because of their alleged poor working relation. 

Analysts claim tensions between the two started after Gordhan opposed Zuma’s plan to invest $60 billion in the construction of several nuclear power stations. 

“I believe this attack on Gordhan is politically motivated because he is in dire opposition to President Zuma,” Andre Duvenhage, politics professor at Northwest University told Anadolu Agency. 

However, the Presidency has denied these claims.

“The broader speculation linking these investigations to government and state-owned institutions are equally unhelpful and they are also false and misleading,” said the Presidency. 

Gordhan has served twice as finance minister.

He was first appointed in May 2009-May 2014 and re-appointed in December 2015, after Zuma fired two finance ministers in less than a week, which led to market turmoil. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2016, 09:41