South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who is facing an investigation by police that the opposition has called a “witch-hunt”, said on Thursday that whether he remained in office was up to President Jacob Zuma.
Gordhan, who was responding to a question at an event in Cape Town, said cabinet appointments were made at the behest of Zuma.
“If required to deliver the budget in February, I will be willing to do that,” he said.
Police are investigating Gordhan over the activities of a surveillance unit set up years ago when he headed the tax service, an investigation that has rocked markets and raised concerns over a possible sovereign credit downgrade this year.
Gordhan, who declined to obey a police summons linked to the inquiry into whether he used a unit of the tax service to spy on politicians including Zuma, said he had complied with the probe by the elite police unit Hawks.
“You can arrest me now if you want, but what have I done wrong? I am not required by law to go there. All the questions have been asked and answered,” he said at a book festival where he took questions from participants.
Gordhan said he had told the Hawks of his willingness to cooperate but the police were yet to contact him.
Zuma has said he backs Gordhan but cannot stop the investigation. Some senior members in the ruling African National Congress party have criticised the finance minister for not obeying the police summons.