Mkhwebane opposed Gordhan’s interdict application due to insults – lawyers

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's legal team has asked the High Court in Pretoria to strike out numerous allegations the minister has made against her in his affidavit.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 22 July 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

PRETORIA - The Public Protector's advocate has told the High Court she would not have opposed Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's interdict application if he did not insult her.

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane' s legal team has asked the High Court in Pretoria to strike out numerous allegations the minister has made against her in his affidavit.

The minister approached the court to interdict the enforcement of the remedial action related to the Public Protector's report on the South African Revenue Service investigating unit, pending the finalisation of a judicial review.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was directed to take action against Gordhan within 30 days of the report being released.

Advocate Thabani Masuku said Mkhwebane has been compelled to oppose Gordhan's application.

“She’s now been forced to oppose. Under normal circumstances, she would have said he has a right to review and if he wants an interdict, he can have it.”

Masuku said they take serious exception to the language used by Gordhan and the allegations made in his affidavit.

“So, we’re asking that they strikeout every allegation that has been relied on by the applicant as being scandalous and irrelevant to the adjudication of the legal questions that he appears to want to run.”

Meanwhile, the counsel for Gordhan told the High Court his client has absolute regard for the Office of the Public Protector but it was the incumbent, Mkhwebane, who had done harm to its standing and dignity.

Mkhwebane's counsel has argued that to interdict the implementation of remedial action against Gordhan would diminish the role the Public Protector played in holding the executive to account.

Masuku has told the High Court in Pretoria that the remedial action was intended to correct the wrongs identified by the Public Protector.

“When that is interdicted simply to protect the dignity of the person then, of course, we diminish those values of the constitutional democracy that we have.”