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South Africa: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan Responds To Arrest Reports

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Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
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The recent media reports about my arrest – imminent or not – have been extremely distressing for my family and me.

I cannot believe that I am being investigated and could possibly be charged for something I am completely innocent of. I have answered the questions submitted by the Hawks, and have not heard from them. I was not aware of any impending charges or further investigations until the reports in the past weekend.

It is indeed true, that no one is above the law. But no one should be subjected to the manipulation of the law and agencies for ulterior motives.

Throughout my 45 years of activism, I have worked for the advancement of the ANC, our Constitution and our democratic government. I would never have thought that individuals within the very agencies of this government would now conspire to intimidate and harass me and my family.

I have met with my lawyers to obtain their advice. They will be approaching the leadership of both the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority for further information and clarity.

I worked together with over ten thousand staff for a decade to transform SARS into a world class revenue and customs administration. We built the revenue service into an efficient and effective institution that provided the increasing fiscal resources to enable government to provide social grants. SARS and the specialist investigative units therein operated within the law during my time as the Commissioner.

The malicious rumours and accusations about “espionage” activities are false and manufactured for other motives.

There have also been reports of business people claiming inside knowledge of or influence over state institutions. If such reports are true, that alleged conduct will undermine the integrity and honesty within the Treasury or other key institutions.

It is particularly painful to me, and I’m sure to many earnest democrats, to witness this unrestrained attack on honest and hardworking people and the institutions meant to strengthen our democracy. Millions of people will pay the price (there will be less money to relieve poverty and support job creation programmes) if this subversion of democracy is left unrestrained and unchallenged.

I appeal to all South Africans to protect the National Treasury staff, who have diligently, honestly and skilfully served the national interest to the best of their ability. They are recognized worldwide for their professionalism and competence.

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