Gordhan vs PP: The president shouldn’t create super ministers, says analyst

Dr Somadoda Fikeni, a political analyst, weighs on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s case against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan addressed a Progressive Professionals Forum in Vredenburg in the Western Cape on 08 April 2019. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Does the Public Protector really have a case against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan?

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni explained what it could take for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwebhane’s case to succeed.

“If you look at technical aspects, that there was an intelligence unit that could secretly investigate people without going through certain formal channels, it ought to have been through the president. However, there could be a counterargument. That if Sars had found out the president and those around him were implicated, it means this is a real test to the laws that we have. Did they anticipate certain scenarios and think the president would be the final arbitrator in this?”

Last week, Mkhwebane found that Gordhan violated the Constitution when he approved the establishment of the so-called Sars rogue unit, also called the high-risk investigation unit.

She said that only the president had the constitutional mandate to form a covert unit that investigated high profile individuals and politicians' tax affairs.

Gordhan announced that he would fight back.

Some people have suggested that Mkhwebane was protecting corrupt officials by going after Gordhan.

Fikeni said the role of the Public Protector and the NPA head had become politicised.

“There might be a number of things playing out here. She might know she’s quite vulnerable, so she needs some heavyweight cases and some political backing. It could also be that she needs to contest the legacy of Thuli Madonsela to also deliver big cases. At a cynical level, it could be other forces and things happening behind the scenes. It will take some time before we know this. But on Pravin Gordhan and other politicians, we should not make it the good versus evil. The president or any other person should not create a notion that there are super ministers who are not disposable.”

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