Public protector takes on state security minister over secret Sars 'rogue unit' report

20 March 2019 - 15:36 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has laid a counter charge against state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba over a classified report.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has laid a counter charge against state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba over a classified report.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has laid a counter charge against state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba over a classified report relating to the so-called “rogue unit” at the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

Mkhwebane said in a statement on Wednesday that she had done so over what she deemed to be “interference with the functioning of her office and contempt for her”.

The fight between the two relates to a probe by Mkhwebane into the establishment of the unit.

City Press reported two weeks ago that Letsatsi-Duba had opened a case against Mkhwebane for being in possession of the report, which was commissioned by then minister David Mahlobo.

In a statement, Mkhwebane said Letsatsi-Duba had failed to make available the classified document which she required in relation to “alleged violation of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act by former minister of finance and incumbent minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan”.

“The public protector has the power to direct any person to submit an affidavit or appear before her to give evidence or produce any document, which has a bearing on a matter under investigation. She may also examine the person,” said Mkhwebane.

She further stated that, according to the Public Protector Act, “any person who without just cause refuses or fails to comply with a direction of request under section 7(4) referred to above or refuses to answer questions put to them under that section or gives answer which they know to be false shall be guilty of an offence.”

“It is my respectful view that the minister’s failure to avail the declassified report as subpoenaed amounts to contempt of the public protector and interference with the functioning of my office, and is therefore an offence,” added Mkhwebane.


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