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Mkhwebane considers invoking contempt proceedings against Sars

Busisiwe Mkhwebane has granted Pravin Gordhan’s request for a deadline extension to file an affidavit in relation to the probe. The minister now has until next Friday to respond.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on 4 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

PRETORIA - The Public Protector’s office says it will invoke contempt proceedings against the South African Revenue Service (Sars) if it fails to hand over documents related to its investigation into Minister Pravin Gordhan and the so-called rogue unit.

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has granted Gordhan’s request for a deadline extension to file an affidavit in relation to the probe. The minister now has until next Friday to respond.

Mkhwebane is investigating allegations of improper and irregular conduct as well as a violation of the executive ethics code.

The probe follows a complaint from the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu.

The Public Protector’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said Minister Gordhan requested the deadline extension in order to allow Sars to obtain a legal opinion on whether it may handover documents for him to use in his submission.

“The Public Protector will subpoena the records in question directly from Sars and she banks on the undertaking made by acting commissioner Mark Kingon that Sars recognises her office as an independent constitutional institution as well as that he appreciates Sars’ constitutional obligation to assist the office.”

However, Segalwe warned that if Sars does not co-operate, Mkhwebane would invoke provisions of the Public Protector’s Act and initiate contempt proceedings.

Mkhwebane has urged the public to allow her to conduct this investigation without hindrance.