Sars breaks silence on Gordhan

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan addresses the pre-budget speech media briefing held at Imbizo Media Cente in Cape Town. South Africa. 22/02/2012

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Revenue Service has broken its silence on the apparent spat with Pravin Gordhan.

In a wide-ranging statement, Sars has hit back at reports that it’s at war with the finance minister.

Gordhan has been outspoken about his relationship with the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service, Tom Moyane.

At the centre of the saga, an investigation into a so-called rogue unit, established when Gordhan was Sars commissioner.

Last week, the minister threatened legal action to protect his credibility and that of National Treasury.

That’s after it emerged that he was being investigated by the Hawks.

But Sars has denied that Moyane initiated the probe.

It has also rejected suggestions it’s been leaking confidential information to the media.

Last week, Gordhan accused Moyane of defying him for going ahead with plans to restructure the agency, despite being ordered to halt the process.

But Sars has defended its operating model, describing claims of ulterior motives as a deliberate attempt to discredit the organisation.

The revenue service has also expressed concern at comments made by Trevor Manuel.

The former finance minister said if he was in charge of Treasury again, he would fire Moyane.

Sars has accused Manuel of undermining the law regulating the relationship between the revenue service and the minister.

Moyane has been described as a loyalist of President Jacob Zuma.

On Monday, Zuma acknowledged difficulties between Moyane and Gordhan, but stressed that the Finance Minister’s job was safe.

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