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Busisiwe Mkhwebane backs down in fight with Pravin Gordhan

29 August 2019 - 15:20 By ERNEST MABUZA
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has done a u-turn and withdrawn her Constitutional Court application for leave to appeal against a court ruling preventing her office from enforcing remedial action against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.

In a judgment delivered in the Pretoria high court on July 29, Judge Sulet Potterill interdicted Mkhwebane and her office from enforcing the remedial action against Gordhan, which had been recommended in her report on the SA Revenue Service’s so-called "rogue unit".

Gordhan had asked the high court to suspend and interdict the enforcement of the remedial orders by the public protector‚ pending the final determination of a review application by Gordhan to be determined at a later date.

In a notice of withdrawal filed with the court on Thursday, Mkhwebane notified the court that she and her office "withdraw their application for leave to appeal directly to this honourable court against the whole order and judgment granted by (Judge) Potterill".

It was not clear why Mkhwebane withdrew her application, which she had filed earlier this month.

In that application, she had said urgent guidance was needed from the Constitutional Court on the right way to handle urgent interim interdict applications against the public protector.

Mkhwebane had argued that it was justified for her to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court as that court would give invaluable guidance on what circumstances would justify suspending a remedial action directed at curing government maladministration.

Mkhwebane can still apply for leave to appeal against Potterill’s judgment, either to the full bench of the high court or the Supreme Court of Appeal.