News / South Africa

Erik Naki
2 minute read
27 Feb 2017
5:24 am

Hawks preparing ‘bogus charge against Jonas’

Erik Naki

City Press reported yesterday the Hawks were investigating Jonas in connection with a suspected tender fraud at SAA.

Former deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas during a board meeting with South African Airways (SAA) on September 09, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. During the meeting, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the approval of R5 billion bailout application for the airline. Picture: Gallo Images

A prominent political analyst, Ralph Mathekga, has lambasted the Hawks for being so desperate to investigate Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas on flimsy allegations, even while utterly failing when they tried this tactic against his senior, Pravin Gordhan.

“I find the Hawks to be so daring to investigate someone who is so close to Gordhan. This is part of the concerted effort to destabilise National Treasury,” Mathekga said.

Mathekga questioned the Hawks action.

“Are the stakes so high for them to do this? Do they have to show such a clear level of desperation?” he said. The Hawks, as in the case of Gordhan, would find it very hard to show concrete evidence against Jonas, he said.

“The aim is not to take this matter to court but to keep the hype for Treasury to lose focus. It looks like they are clutching at straws,” Mathekga said.

City Press reported yesterday that the Hawks were investigating Jonas in connection with suspected tender fraud at South African Airways.

The paper said the elite corruption busters Crimes Against the State (Cats) unit was gathering evidence that could implicate Jonas in a case of corruption involving a supplier to SAA’s aviation maintenance division, SAA Technical (Saat).

The paper quoted three sources as saying the Hawks were investigating Jonas for allegedly introducing US aircraft maintenance and engineering firm AAR Corp to one of Saat’s board members, requesting that he “look after them”.

An unnamed Saat board member alleged in a complaint laid against Jonas that the deputy minister used his political influence to have the company favourably viewed as a supplier of aircraft components and tyres.

Attempts to get comment from Jonas proved fruitless yesterday. Another analyst, Somadoda Fikeni, said the probe against Jonas was not surprising considering the deputy minister exposed the Guptas for allegedly influencing Cabinet appointments, including a promise of the finance minister post for Jonas.

Fikeni said the investigation was aimed at setting the stage for a Cabinet reshuffle by preparing the public for the axing of Jonas and Gordhan.

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