Mkhwebane: Nothing sinister about investigation into Gordhan

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has subpoenaed Pravin Gordhan to explain his role in the early retirement package offered to former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: @PublicProtector/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The Public Protector's office says its investigation into Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is independent and there’s nothing sinister about the timing of the probe.

Mkhwebane has subpoenaed Gordhan to explain to his role in the early retirement package offered to former South African Revenue Services (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

In a statement to the Zondo commission of inquiry, which has been leaked to the media, Gordhan described next week’s meeting as part of the "misuse and abuse of public powers for suspicious objectives".

He has also taken issue with the investigation, saying that it’s the same issue he was criminally charged for in 2016 and former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams later withdrew the charges.

The Public Protector's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe says that Mkhwebane does her work without any political influence from anyone.

“The Public Protector must be accessible to all persons in our communities. If people are going to look at who the people are before we look into their issues, then we will totally to acting in a manner that’s not in line with the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, Gordhan adds that he believes that the fightback is aimed at countering the work done by public servants and political office bearers to "re-capture" the state.

He has also expressed concern about intimidation harassment and racism against those appearing before the Zondo Commission.

Gordhan says the cost of being honest is high for him personally, as well as for his family and colleagues, but it’s a price paid to ensure South Africa transforms from its apartheid past and its recently captured state.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)