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Gupta lawyer: Gordhan's application was waste of court’s time & taxpayers money

The High Court in Pretoria says it’s concerned that while Oakbay knew that Pravin Gordhan didn’t have the legal authority to intervene in their fight with the banks, they still persisted in their request for his assistance.

FILE: Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria says it’s concerned that while the Gupta-owned Oakbay company knew that former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan didn’t have the legal authority to intervene in their fight with the banks, they still persisted in their request for his assistance.

The court has ruled that Gordhan didn’t have to intervene in the dispute between the family’s companies and the banks.

But it also dismissed Gordhan’s application for a declaratory order, giving effect to this, saying it's unnecessary.

Gordhan had turned to the court after the Gupta family asked him to intervene when the country’s four big financial institutions cut ties with the family’s companies, citing reputational risk.

The Gupta’s Oakbay Company argued in court that it agreed that the law was clear in that the former Finance Minister could not legally interfere in the banking affairs of the family’s group of companies.

However, the family still asked Gordhan for assistance in dealing with the banks.

This has concerned the High Court, which notes in its judgment that while Oakbay conceded the legal position regarding the powers and functions of the minister, they still persisted in their requests to him for assistance.

The court is also concerned that the Gupta companies argued that they would not consider similar requests to the minister in the future to be impermissible.

The companies justified asking Gordhan for help by saying jobs were at stake.

Meanwhile, Oakbay has welcomed the ruling, saying it has always said that Gordhan's application was a waste of court’s time and taxpayers’ money.

The Gupta’s lawyer Gert van der Merve says Gordhan's application was a waste of court’s time and taxpayers money.

“It was not unexpected. We didn’t go into the case on chance. We expected that we’d be successful so we’re pleased with the outcome.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)