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Gordhan’s lawyers want clarity on Mkhwebane's Sars rogue unit probe

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is investigating allegations of improper and irregular conduct as well as violation of the Executive Ethics Code and follows a complaint from the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

PRETORIA - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has asked the Public Protector to cite the special circumstances she has relied on to investigate matters related to the so-called South African Revenue Service (Sars) rogue unit.

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is investigating allegations of improper and irregular conduct as well as the violation of the Executive Ethics Code and follows a complaint from the Economic Freedom Fighter’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu.

The Public Protector Act states a complaint shall not be investigated if it has not been referred to the office within two years of the matter taking place.

The allegations against Gordhan relate to his conduct while he was Sars commissioner more than a decade ago.

The minister’s attorney Tebogo Malatji said they had asked Mkhwebane to clarify the special circumstances she had relied on to pursue this complaint.

“If there are no special circumstances as described by the very act that applies to the office, we’ve got cause to ask why are you investigating this [because] it is old and has been investigated by other authorities,” Malatji said.

The public protector’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the fact that law enforcement authorities had investigated and not pursued this matter was irrelevant.

“The public protector’s role is to primarily investigate maladministration, things like abuse of power and state resources and improper enrichment. The act stipulates a range of issues that constitute maladministration as opposed to criminal conduct,” he said.

Gordhan has been given until next Friday to respond to the allegations.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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