LIFESTYLE | August 31, 2017 11:36

Hawks' harassment of Manuel, Moleketi emulates corruption-ridden Ukraine

CAPE TOWN -- The Hawks' move on former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and his former Deputy Jabu Moleketi in their politically-motivated attempt to charge outspoken Zuma critic, another ex- Finmin, Pravin Gordhan, has loud echoes in corrupt governments world-wide. The captured National Prosecuting Authority won't let up after failing to nail Gordhan the first time around, even though Zuma then removed the straight-shooting obstacle to his crony-enrichment ambitions, sending the economy into a debilitating tailspin. Now they've got a court to legitimise their demand for an affidavit from Trevor Manuel to see if he won't give them something to go on. Gordhan allegedly created a special investigative unit in the SA revenue service to spy on politicians. He has stood his ground, maintaining that he acted within his mandate. In the Ukraine, government prosecutors want to charge their reform-minded finance minister, Mr Oleksandr Danyliuk, for trying to make the country's corruption-riddled VAT system more transparent. They're probing his income and property in a bid to dig up some dirt. Similar moves, ranging from media and free speech clampdowns, (Thailand), to targeting an attorney general who is a human rights defender (Venezuela via a compliant Supreme Court judge), forcing opposition mayors into hiding and honest judges into fleeing the country (also Venezuela) speak loudly to the back-to-the-wall moves of our Zuptoid rulers. – Chris Bateman

By Sam Mkokeli and Paul Vecchiatto

(Bloomberg) —¬†A special South African police unit told former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and his one-time deputy, Jabu Moleketi, to provide affidavits on the creation of a special investigative unit in the revenue service that allegedly spied on politicians.

The police unit, known as the Hawks, wants the affidavits by Friday so "we can finalize this investigation," spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said by phone late on Wednesday. The affidavits were ordered by a judge.

Before President Jacob Zuma fired him as finance minister in March, Pravin Gordhan said the tax agency unit, set up a decade ago when he was head of the revenue authority, acted within its mandate. The National Prosecuting Authority has been probing the unit in an investigation that Gordhan, opposition parties and civil-society groups say is politically motivated.

Questioning Manuel and Moleketi about the investigative unit raises the chances that the police may move to charge Gordhan, who has become a vocal critic of the president and is seen as part of a faction that is seeking his removal from office.

"It is true that the Hawks have requested the pleasure of my company," Manuel said by phone. "I don't know what it is exactly they want to talk to me about as I am abroad." A call to Moleketi seeking comment went immediately to voicemail. Manuel served as South African finance minister between 1996 and 2009.

In the week we saw Zuma siblings attack Gordhan, a Zuma strongman appointed CI boss and a leaked CI report, we have Hawks move on SARS case.

— Barry Bateman (@barrybateman) August 31, 2017

Gordhan, who may also be investigated over alleged mismanagement of an IT contract while he was in charge of the Treasury, dismissed the latest moves as a renewed attempt to discredit politicians who are fighting against the plunder of state resources.

Charges announced in October against Gordhan relating to an early-retirement payment for a tax agency official were dropped two weeks later when prosecutors decided there was no case.