PP's remedial action against Gordhan halted

Monday, July 29, 2019

The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's remedial action against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan be suspended.

The Minister applied for an urgent interdict last week to suspend the remedial action in the South African Revenue Service (Sars) ‘rogue unit’ report against him, while he seeks a full judicial review of the report.

The report at the crux of the matter looked into the establishment of the ‘rogue unit’ which took place during Gordhan’s tenure as commissioner at SARS in 2007.

In the report, the Public Protector found that not only was the establishment of the unit illegal but that it also conducted unlawful intelligence.

In her remedial action, the Public Protector stated that President Cyril Ramaphosa should discipline Gordhan within 30 days of her report.

She also directed the police and National Prosecuting Authority to consider criminal charges against the Minister.

Delivering her judgment, Judge Sulet Potterill said the Public Protector’s orders were “vague, contradictory and/or nonsensical”.

In his court papers, the Public Enterprises Minister asked that the court suspend the remedial action against him pending a full review of the report.

In calling for a review, Gordhan disputes that the unit was established illegally. The Minister also said the Public Protector had flouted legal rules by not allowing him an opportunity to comment on the remedial action.

He further noted in his court papers that the appointment of former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, without any qualifications was justified because of his struggle credentials.

In her court papers, the Public Protector put forward that the urgent interdict threatened the integrity of her office.

The court’s ruling comes a week after the Constitutional Court found that the Public Protector had put forward “a number of falsehoods” in her report on Absa, formerly Bankorp.

Mkhwebane has been ordered to pay litigation costs. – SAnews.gov.za