Mkhwebane pre-empts 'backlash' as she issues Gordhan with notice

The Public Protector served Pravin Gordhan with a section 7(9) notice, which affords a person being investigated by the office the opportunity to give their side of the story.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane took to YouTube on Monday to pre-emptively address any "backlash" that might result from the next step in investigations against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

“I’m ready to receive all the backlash but I am doing the work. I am not targeting or harassing any minister, specifically Minister Gordhan,” she said.

On Monday Mkhwebane served Gordhan with a section 7(9) notice in terms of the Public Protectors Act in relation to her investigation into his meetings with the Gupta family and his involvement in the so-called South African Revenue Service (Sars) rogue unit.

She said the section affords the person being investigated an opportunity to give their side of the story.

Mkhwebane said she knew this would bring more attacks on her office.

“There will be a lot of questions, there will be allegations that I am also still persecuting Mr Gordhan, but I’m doing my work and I understand when it comes to the issues of the rogue unit people have lost lives, people have been tainted and I think that is still going to happen, but I’m doing my work and I will be serving the notice today,” Mkhwebane said in the YouTube video.

She said there were still a number of interactions that were necessary between her office and Gordhan.

Explaining why she was making the announcement on the notice on the video-sharing website, Mkhwebane said there was a media-driven narrative that she was harassing Gordhan and since she didn't "own any form of media" this was her "opportunity to communicate to whoever will listen" that she would be calling Gordhan to make representations relating to the matters before her.

Mkhwebane recently released a report which found Gordhan violated the Constitution when he approved an early retirement package for former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)