Court slams Gordhan for comments 'no self-respecting member of the executive' should make
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane succeeded in striking out allegations contained in an affidavit by public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Monday succeeded in striking out certain allegations public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan made in an affidavit as part of their acrimonious court battle.
The high court in Pretoria struck out the allegations as part as its findings against Mkhwebane on Monday, as it set aside with costs, the public protector report released in July last year in which she found that Gordhan had established an intelligence unit at the SA Revenue Service in violation of intelligence prescripts.
The court struck out certain paragraphs contained in Gordhan's court application to set aside the report.
Mkhwebane brought the application to strike out, contending that the allegations made were vexatious, threatening and largely irrelevant - and that these allegations did not belong in court papers by a “self-respecting member of the national executive”.
Mkhwebane said Gordhan described her as corrupt, illiterate, rogue, incompetent, irrational, and unreasonable and unfit to occupy the position of public protector. The court agreed with Mkhwebane, and said these allegations should be struck out.
“The allegations in paragraphs 228 and 232, namely that advocate Mkhwebane's competence, integrity, legal literacy and constitutional grasp of her powers, duties and functions are doubtful, as well as setting out what other courts had said about her understanding of the constitution are irrelevant, scandalous and vexatious,” the court said.
The full bench said the Constitutional Court had warned that courts should not lightly allow vitriolic statements to form part of the record or as evidence and should never be seen to be condoning this kind of inappropriate behaviour, embarked upon under the guise of robustness.
“Except for paragraphs 228 and 232, which we agree are irrelevant and scandalous and prejudicial, the allegations made in the remainder of the paragraphs are directed at one of the grounds of review, namely that the public protector acted with an improper motive and was biased,” says the judgment by the court comprised of judges Selby Baqwa, Leonie Windell and Annali Basson.