Gordhan won't take Mkhwebane's 'rogue unit' report lying down

05 July 2019 - 17:34 By ERNEST MABUZA
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan plans to review the Public Protector's report, which found that the setting up of the rogue unit at Sars, approved by Gordhan, was in violation of the constitution
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan plans to review the Public Protector's report, which found that the setting up of the rogue unit at Sars, approved by Gordhan, was in violation of the constitution
Image: Trevor Samson

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday he had instructed his legal representatives to consider the public protector’s report and to prepare an urgent review.

On Friday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, in a report on her investigation into the establishment of the Sars "rogue unit", found that the setting up of the unit, approved by Gordhan, was in violation of the constitution.

Mkhwebane found that only the president of the country had powers to sign off on such an intelligence-gathering unit.

In his response on Friday afternoon, Gordhan said neither his office, nor anyone in his legal team, had received a formal notice, correspondence or report from Mkhwebane about alleged findings and remedial actions before these were announced by Mkhwebane to the media, including a live stream on YouTube.

“Minister Gordhan has stated unequivocally that he is unreservedly committed to uphold the constitution and the rule of law.

“Whilst respecting the office of the public protector – and cooperating with their investigations - Minister Gordhan, like many others, has recorded his serious misgivings about the incumbent, her conduct and her partiality,” Gordhan’s attorney, Tebogo Malatji, said.

Another of those implicated in the findings, former Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay, said from Friday’s announcement, with respect to Gordhan and his tenure as the former commissioner of Sars, it was apparent that the public protector continued to get the "facts wrong, get the law wrong and was demonstrably biased".

“The constitution … envisages the office of the public protector to be independent, impartial, dignified and effective. To date, in this matter, it has failed in all four respects," he said through his lawyers.

Gordhan thanked the public protector for completing her process.

“Minister Gordhan has instructed his legal representatives to consider the public protector’s report, upon its receipt, and to prepare an urgent review. We will announce the details of the envisaged legal action next week,” Malatji said.


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