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Public Protector's attack on Gordhan's PA unnecessary - lawyer

Lawyers representing former Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said that the attack on his personal assistant by the Public Protector's office was unnecessary and can be settled at an elementary level.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers representing former Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said that the attack on his personal assistant by the Public Protector's office was unnecessary and can be settled at an elementary level.

On Friday, Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane found Gordhan guilty of improper conduct regarding an early retirement payout for former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

Mkhwebane's office also said that its own internal IT investigation has found that an email from them to Gordhan's office may have been fraudulently edited and has fingered the former minister's PA.

Gordhan is in the process of taking the findings against him on review.

The Public Protector's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said that Busiswe Mkhwebane intended to lay criminal charges against the minister's executive personal assistant for tampering with the dates on the email from their office to the minister.

"Acknowledging receipt of the correspondence of 24 April 2019 so as to make it seem as though the correspondence of 24 April was only sent, received and acknowledged on 7 May."

But Gordhan's lawyer Tebogo Malatji says that was not necessary.

"Whether we get to represent her or not is not a matter that is being debated with the office of the minister. We can't be having a debate over whether an email was sent. It's as easy as to get the IT people to verify, that's it."

Gordhan's lawyers have started drafting the papers to have Mkhwebane's findings taken on review.

Malatji has questioned the timing of Mkhwebane's report, saying that she got it wrong, in fact and in law.

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