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Gordhan: Timing of Public Protector's report 'politically motivated'

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane had found that Pravin Gordhan violated the Constitution by approving former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

PRETORIA - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan stated under oath that the timing of the release of the Public Protector’s report that found against him was politically motivated and part of an effort to empower proponents of state capture.

The serious allegations are contained in an affidavit Gordhan filed with an application on Tuesday to have the report reviewed and set aside.

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Gordhan violated the Constitution by approving former South African Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement.

The former minister stated that Mkhwebane’s rush to publish her report last Friday within 48 hours of him submitting his representations to her office was informed by improper and irrelevant considerations or an ulterior purpose or motive.

Gordhan referred to the presidential inauguration on Saturday and how his political opponents had used the report to attack his integrity, claiming he was unsuitable for reappointment to government.

He said Mkhwebane issued the report to enable a renewal of the ongoing political campaign against him by proponents of state capture and defenders of corruption.

Gordhan said he joined a long line of litigants who had to turn to the court to ensure the Public Protector acts in accordance with the law and Constitution.

He said Mkhwebane was unfit for the office she holds and appears unable to lawfully, constitutionally and rationally exercise its powers.

The Economic Freedom Fighters used the report as the basis for their call to President Cyril Ramaphosa not to appoint Gordhan to his new Cabinet.

Gordhan relied on the adverse findings in four cases against Mkhwebane to challenge her competence and fitness to hold office.

Gordhan said he sought legal advice from six officials in government all of whom advised him that the decision regarding the pension payout was lawful.

Gordhan said the courts had been scathing of Mkhwebane’s comprehension of her constitutional role; her grasp of the law; and her ability to act without fear, favour or prejudice.

He relied on the findings in two judgments linked to the Absa/Bankorp matter, another involving former minister Gugile Nkwinti, and the recent judgment that set aside her report related to the Vrede dairy farm project.

Gordhan said while these findings had no bearing on the present application, they revealed an emerging and consistent pattern of disregard for the constitutional mandate of the office of the Public Protector.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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