A criminal case against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was opened by South African Revenue Services (Sars) Commissioner Tom Moyane.

In May 2015, Moyane, who doesn’t see eye to eye with Gordhan, opened a case against former Sars boss Ivan Pillay and Sars high-risk investigations head Johann van Loggerenberg as well as Gordhan. According to a report by City Press newspaper, the case was dropped in December. However, the docket has now been handed over to the Crime Intelligence Unit.

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Moyane’s reasoning behind his actions was that the other police unit wasn’t making progress with the case. It’s also been revealed that the Hawks had never been asked to investigate the case, and that it came as a surprise that the Hawks and Brigadier Nyameka Xaba had sent Gordhan the 27 questions about the Sars “rogue unit”.

On 22 May, the Hawks refuted reports that they were investigating Gordhan for espionage. The Sunday Independent reported that Gordhan and his legal team had met with the Hawks’ investigations unit, which confirmed that there was no investigation into the minister. Following reports of his alleged investigation, Gordhan slammed state agencies for harassing him and his family.

“I would have never thought that individuals within the very agencies of this government would now conspire to intimidate and harass me and my family,” he said in May.

The power struggle between Gordhan and Moyane was sparked by the finance minister’s call for Moyane to discontinue his plans to restructure Sars. Following his reappointment to the finance ministry, following Des van Rooyen being sacked after three days on the job, Gordhan asked Moyane to put a stop to his plans to restructure the tax revenue organisation as he wanted to assess the restructuring process before it commenced.

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However, Moyane ignored Gordhan’s request and sent out a memo to his team saying the restructuring would continue as planned. Following the conflict between the two officials, it was reported that Gordhan has asked President Jacob Zuma to sack Moyane. Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said in March that Zuma was dealing with the matter between Gordhan and Moyane.

Despite the moves against Gordhan, the ANC has publicly backed the minister. The party said it believes in Gordhan’s leadership as the country’s finance minister and strongly supports him.

Additional reporting: City Press