Days before democratic South Africaâ€™s most anticipated budget speech, Gordhan received a letter from the Hawks, posing questions to the former South African Revenue Service (Sars) head in connection with a criminal investigation into the activities of the so-called Sars â€œrogue unitâ€.
Various sources confirmed this as a salvo in the â€œproxy warâ€ between President Jacob Zuma and Gordhan, with the battle over state resources at stake. At the heart of the battle is the recapturing of Sars from perceived Zuma allies.
It seems that Gordhan is aware that he is walking a tightrope. His budget pulled back from several initiatives that treasury sources had indicated would be appearing in this weekâ€™s budget. Those included more robust steps to rein in the board of SAA, and particularly chairperson Dudu Myeni, who is a personal friend of Zumaâ€™s.
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