Big week for Gordhan with Mkhwebane meeting, Zondo Commission appearance

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is set to appear before the Zondo commission into state capture on Thursday, a day after his meeting with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – It's a big week for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan who is set to meet with the Public Protector over the investigation into former South African Revenue Services deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement while he also prepares to appear before the state capture inquiry.

Gordhan has dismissed allegations that he did not respond to Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's request for more information to assist her office with the investigation.

Mkhwebane has subpoenaed the minister to explain details around the approval of Pillay's early retirement and package.

Gordhan's lawyers say the Public Protector has been unable to provide evidence to prove there was any maladministration and dishonesty when Pillay was given an early retirement package and then reinstated in 2010.

The minister's lawyer Tebogo Malatji says, “They don’t have such evidence actually on record from the complainant.”

Malatji says it’s not true that Gordhan failed to respond to Mkhwebane earlier this year.

Gordhan has said he believes the investigation into Pillay’s early retirement package is an abuse of power.

The minister is set to appear before the Zondo commission into state capture on Thursday, a day after his meeting with the Public Protector.

His statement to the commission, which was leaked to the media last week, detailed behind-the-scenes plans to procure nuclear energy, with former President Jacob Zuma insisting the country needed to secure the deal.

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Gordhan's lawyers say that he will appear before the Public Protector this week, despite the suggestion by Mkhwebane that the minister tried to stall a meeting regarding the invitation this year.

In a statement, Gordhan claims he asked Mkhwebane in February for proof that he acted dishonestly and improper when he approved Pillay’s early retirement.

Gordhan claims he has not yet received any evidence from the advocate proving any wrong-doing.

Malatji said, however, it is all based on a case which was already concluded by the Hawks back in 2016.

“It is not a provisional withdrawal of charges, it is a withdrawal of charges. So, he doesn’t face any of them from the NPA, so it’s a concluded matter.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)