Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Ekurhuleni - The politically-motivated harassment of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is designed as a pretext to remove him from office and weaken the National Treasury's struggle against corruption and corporate capture, the South African Communist Party said on Sunday.

In a statement issued after the SACP central committee (CC) meeting in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, this weekend, the party said the CC reaffirmed the SACP's condemnation of the Hawks' ongoing harassment of Gordhan. No one should be above the law, but as numerous commentators had observed the putative charges against Gordhan were a flimsy concoction without the slightest basis in law.

“They are designed as a pretext to remove comrade Gordhan from office and weaken Treasury's struggle against corruption and corporate capture,” the SACP said. “We have noted the denial of any political involvement in this matter, but also note that after assuring comrade Gordhan that he was not a suspect, and then pausing for the local government elections, the matter is suddenly back on the table.”

Over the past decade the ANC had battled to handle effectively leadership transitions and the current harassment of Gordhan bore an uncanny resemblance to earlier events where judicial processes were used and abused for political ends.

The SACP said the most critical of all issues was getting lost in this affair. It was too often presented in the public domain as a simple stand-off between Gordhan and the Hawks. Clearly, the South African Revenue Service, like any reputable revenue service in the world, needed a financial intelligence capacity.

“Yes, that capacity needs to be regulated by law to prevent abuse. But the real question in this matter is what did the so-called 'rogue unit' in SARS uncover that has made some forces so desperate as to dismantle effective capacity in SARS, even risking South Africa's economic well-being in the process?” the SACP asked.