ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has called on the Hawks to follow due process in their investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, saying the public nature of the dispute is hurting the country and the economy.
Mantashe was speaking after the ANC national working committee (NWC) held a meeting on Monday where the Hawks’ battle with Gordhan and allegations that the ANC pocketed some cash from Prasa’s deal with Swifambo took centre stage.
The secretary general reaffirmed the presidency’s statement that the ANC had full confidence in Gordhan and said the Hawks must abide by the proper conduct in their investigation to avoid damage to the economy.
“If the Hawks have an issue with a minister, it should not be a public exercise.
It should be handled in the same way as with anybody else,” Mantashe said.
“The investigation must not humiliate the minister.”
But Mantashe also said Gordhan must cooperate with the Hawks although he called the investigative unit’s decision to send 27 questions to the finance minister and the return several months later “unnatural”.
Desmond van Rooyen was also addressed after he made comments as the treasurer-general of MKMVA, accusing Gordhan of strategically attempting to gain public sympathy and undermining the Hawks by refusing to respond to their summons. Mantashe spent a significant amount of time talking about the need for ANC members and leaders to exercise discipline by not entering the fray.
“We are saying don’t leak information. Engage in the [ANC] structures,” he said.
He also nonchalantly commented on the MKMVA’s decision to make comments through Van Rooyen, saying it was a bad choice.
“To choose Des to speak on the matter was unfortunate. I think in hindsight they will regret it,” Mantashe said.
“What happened to humility?”
The ANC has faced allegations for some time over corruption within state-owned entities. Last week, Eskom chairperson Popo Molefe filed an affidavit which claimed that the R80-million from Prasa’s deal with shell company Swifambo, which supplied locomotives, ended up in the ANC. Mantashe denied the allegation, saying the ANC has received no money from Prasa. He also encouraged an investigation into the matter.
“Whoever took the R80-million, it didn’t arrive here,” Mantashe said.
Currently, pressure has mounted on the party to hold an early elective conference, but Mantashe showed no sign that the party was willing to change the date for its conference, saying the ANC constitution is very specific on the matter.
Despite having strong words for Van Rooyen and the MKMVA, Mantashe reiterated their sentiments by insinuating that the treasury may be out to win the public as its battle with the Hawks roars on.
“We caution treasury against taking a public posture that they are victims who must be protected by society,” Mantashe said.
The Hawks have been unclear as to what exactly motivated their investigation into Gordhan, but the Presidency has maintained that it has no power in the matter.