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Minister Pravin Gordhan has asked us to clarify the perception of some that he has not co-operated
with the Hawks and acts as if he is above the law as well as state institutions. Nothing can be further
from the truth. The Minister responded fully to all the Hawks enquiries, offered to provide any further
assistance they might require and scrupulously acted in accordance with the law. The facts are these.
On 19 February 2016 the Hawks asked Minister Gordhan to answer some 27 questions. The Minister
fully and comprehensively answered them on 30 March 2016 despite the fact that he was not obliged
to do so. He said in paragraph 3 of his answer that,
I wish to co-operate fully with any investigation of the Hawks into the activities of SARS. I have
decided to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a spirit of full co-operation.
In May 2016 the media reported that the Hawks were investigating charges against the Minister. On
his instructions, we enquired from the Hawks whether it was true. General Ntlemeza, the head of the
Hawks, explicitly denied the rumour in a letter dated 20 May 2016. He explained that,
The questions posed to the Minister were in relation to the investigation that is conducted by the
Hawks into the activities of the SARS unit and the Minister is not a suspect in that investigation.
Despite General Ntlemezas assurance, we received a letter from the Hawks out of the blue on
Monday 22 August 2016 calling on the Minister to attend at their offices on Thursday 25 August 2016
to make awarning statement about two matters the establishment of the SARS investigating unit
and the early retirement and re-appointment of the Deputy Commissioner of SARS Mr Ivan Pillay.
Shortly after we received the letter, it was released to the media and created much speculation that
the Minister was about to be arrested.
The Minister immediately responded fully and comprehensively to the Hawks enquiry on Wednesday
24 August 2016. He did so in a comprehensive statement in which he dealt fully with the two matters
raised by the Hawks. He concluded his statement by saying that,
I have nothing further to say in relation to these matters. If the Hawks however require any further
assistance in good faith, I would be happy to assist.
The Hawks have not responded to his offer of further assistance.
The Minister also requested us to address the legal issues raised by the Hawks. We did so on the
advice of senior counsel in a letter to the Hawks on 24 August 2016. We made the point that, on any
version of the facts, the assertions of law on which the Hawks based their accusations against the
Minister were wholly unfounded and indeed scurrilous. The Minister however instructed us to be as
helpful as possible and to offer whatever further assistance the Minister could provide the Hawks. Our
letter made this clear:
Minister Gordhan has, however, instructed us to be as helpful as possible and to address your
questions fully. We accordingly enclose a statement by the Minister giving his account of the facts

relevant to the matters raised in your letter. He has asked us to address the assertions of law
Minister Gordhan is unable to meet with Brigadier Xaba at 14h00 on Thursday 25 August 2016.
He in any event has no more to say about the matters raised in your letter under reply. If you
require further information, however, you are welcome to approach us again because the Minister
has instructed us to assist wherever we can.

The Hawks again did not respond to this invitation.

The Minister decided not to go to the Hawks offices as they had requested for a range of good
reasons. The first was that he was not by law required to do so. A warning statement is merely an
opportunity afforded to a suspect to give his or her side of the story. But it is entirely optional.
Thewarning from which the statement derives its name is indeed a warning to the suspect that he or
she has the right to remain silent.
It was in the second place absurd to invite the Minister to make a warning statement. He had already
given a full account of his side of the story. He had repeatedly offered to provide the Hawks with
whatever else they might wish to know. It would thus have been absurd to warn him that he had a
right to remain silent and to ask him whether he had anything to say about the charges against him.
Third, the Minister was due to attend the funeral of a friend and comrade, Reverend Makhenkesi
Stofile, in the Eastern Cape on Thursday 25 August 2016. He was thus unable to meet with the Hawks
on that day.
Fourth, there was moreover another worrying feature of the manner in which the Hawks handled this
matter. They never had the courtesy to notify the Minister that, contrary to General Ntlemezas
assurance, he was a suspect in the investigation. They instead issued their letter out of the blue calling
on him to attend at their offices on short notice. Shortly after they had issued their letter, it was released
to the media and triggered much speculation that the Minister was about to be arrested. The Hawks
did nothing to dampen the media frenzy. On the contrary, their handling of the matter seemed to have
been designed to trigger a media event to humiliate the Minister by demonstrating in a glare of publicity
how the Hawks have brought him to heel. The Minister was not prepared to play along with that
The Minister has thus scrupulously obeyed the law at all times. He has fully co-operated with the
Hawks. He has repeatedly offered such further assistance as they might require. They have not
responded to his repeated invitations. The Minister however again repeats his offer of assistance.
For enquiries, please contact:
Tebogo Malatji
MD and Director Gildenhuys Matlatji
083 676 6238
All the documents mentioned in this statement are available here