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Manuel on Hawks rumours: Bring it on!

Fin24 logo Fin24 2016-10-21 Carin Smith | Fin24

Manuel on Hawks rumours: Bring it on!© Supplied Manuel on Hawks rumours: Bring it on! Cape Town - "Bring it on!"

That was the reaction of former minister of finance Trevor Manuel to reports that the Hawks are contemplating laying charges against him, allegedly for his approval of a modernisation contract at the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

"I am comfortable that there has been no wrongdoing. There is nothing there and I am confident about what I know. I say bring it on," Manuel said at a business breakfast hosted by the Ubuntu Foundation, MMI Holdings and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Cape Town on Friday.

"You would think Trevor is already in jail when you read the story a newspaper ran on Thursday about the Hawks allegedly going after me for a contract awarded in 2006."

Mzwanele "Jimmy" Manyi, founder of the Decolonisation Foundation, told Fin24 on Thursday the complaint he laid with the Hawks and the public protector regarding a R100m modernisation contract at Sars, approved by Manuel, has nothing to do with whether he and Manuel like each other or not.

Manyi was reacting to a report by The Citizen, which claimed to have been "reliably informed" about possible action by the Hawks against Manuel regarding a contract awarded to Barone, Budge & Dominick (BB&D), which develops and consults on custom software, applications and IT systems. Manuel allegedly approved the contract, which currently stands at R1bn according to an assessment, without following due processes, according to the newspaper.

READ: Manyi: Hawks complaint against Manuel not personal

Manuel pointed out at the Ubuntu event that in the newspaper story, the Hawks spokesperson said they received a complaint about him.

"So now I ask: how did this complaint get to them? There is a process to reach the Hawks. They do not have a charge office. How can this be a priority crime?" asked Manuel.

"The media ran the story as if the Hawks are out to get me and that the public protector has been tasked with it too. Yet in the newspaper article it says the public protector looked at the matter in 2010 and found there was no case."

Manuel also addressed what he called the challenging times in South Africa at the moment.

"How do we try to make sense of the present? I cannot think of a time when there were more balls in the air. I helped to make this country what it was, but I am not happy with where it is at the moment. We must be vigilant about where we are and the risks we face," said Manuel.

"We must understand what the motto on our coat of arms is all about: unity in diversity. It is not something we are born with. It happens if we are encouraged to interact."

In his view, the path of least resistance is a comfort zone which is the antithesis of nation building.

READ: Manuel tells Zuma to be honourable ... and quit

"We must never allow ourselves to forget who we are, where we came from and why we must move forward. Part of what we live through as a country at the moment is a failure of my generation," said Manuel.

'Anarchy can destroy SA'

"Things feel slightly out of control at the moment. Where are the best among us who will demonstrate that they are prepared to sometimes make unpopular decisions for the greater good? By anarchy we can destroy it all. We must understand where we come from and know where want to go. We need to make serious decisions about the present as we need to make changes," he cautioned.

"We need bold and brave leadership in SA to build a relationship of trust. If we don’t trust each other, you cannot build a sense of common purpose. You cannot outsource leadership to professional politicians – regardless of which party you come from."

Manuel said it is about discipline and creating people who serve.

"Do we elect people who want to be accountable to the communities they serve? Why are we scared of accountability?" he asked.

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