Cape Town - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will not receive any help from President Jacob Zuma relating to the so-called rogue unit at SA Revenue Service (Sars) at the time he was commissioner, according to City Press.
This is despite the Presidency rejecting claims of a conspiracy against Gordhan and the African National Congress (ANC) issuing a formal statement of support for Gordhan.
The paper reported on Sunday that the Hawks are confident that they have a strong case against Gordhan, adding that Zuma was briefed by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Hawks head Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza on the progress of the case at a meeting last month.
Zuma, who is said to believe that Gordhan should cooperate with investigators, was taken through the details of the case.
In a letter sent to Gordhan last Friday, Gordhan was given until Wednesday to hand-deliver his responses to 27 questions over his involvement with the formation of the so-called rogue unit at Sars.
Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said the ruling party was "extremely concerned" about reports that the Hawks sent questions to Gordhan four days before his Budget Speech about his knowledge of a rogue unit.
However, Zuma's office indirectly hit back at Mantashe, saying it "noted rumours and gossip which insinuate some conspiracy" against the finance minister.
The Hawks’ investigation into the unit began after Sars commissioner Tom Moyane laid a criminal complaint at the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria in May last year.
In the document, the Hawks allege that Gordhan and former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay were instrumental in the creation of the unit.
The case against Gordhan relates primarily to his approval of the unit’s formation, as well as its operations, his extension of Pillay’s contract and Pillay’s early retirement settlement.
Moyane's tenure at Sars has been marked by the purge of a number of top Sars officials, which has disrupted the running of the unit.
A KPMG report, commissioned by Moyane, alleged Gordhan was responsible for a unit, conducting illegal intelligence-gathering and surveillance, that allegedly probed Zuma and his allies.
Between 2007 and 2013, these units assisted law enforcement agencies in combating crime, seizing illegal tobacco and drugs, clamping down on outstanding customs duties, raising tax assessments on defaulting taxpayers and preserving assets.
While critics alleged that the unit was illegally set up, Gordhan has made it clear he disagrees with the report’s allegations.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance wants Zuma to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the Sars wars.
"The only option with any hope of avoiding mutually assured destruction and uncovering the truth is for a full judicial commission of inquiry to be established to investigate all allegations concerning the so-called Sars rogue unit", DA MP and finance spokesperson David Maynier said in a statement.
He claimed that Gordhan and Zuma, together with their proxy forces, appear to be locked in a fight to the death over Sars.
"I will, therefore, be writing to President Jacob Zuma requesting him to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry, in terms of Section 84 of the Constitution, to investigate all the allegations surrounding the so-called Sars rogue unit", Maynier said.