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Mkhwebane disappointed with court ruling over Gordhan remedial action

The Pretoria High Court granted an interdict against the enforcement of the Public Protector's remedial action against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in the report related to the South African Revenue Service (Sars)'s investigation unit.

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

PRETORIA - The High Court has rejected the Public Protector’s attempt to have allegations leveled at Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane struck from Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s affidavit, finding that the allegations of bias and ulterior purpose constituted grounds to review her report if proven to be true.

Judge Sulet Potterill made the finding in Pretoria on Monday when she granted an interdict against the enforcement of the remedial action in the report related to the South African Revenue Service (Sars)'s investigation unit.

Gordhan accused Mkhwebane of being incompetent, irrational and negligent in the performance of her duties.

Judge Potterill rejected Mkhwebane’s argument that if the court did not strike out Gordhan’s comments about her, it would undermine the dignity and effectiveness of the Public Protector.

"The bias and ulterior purpose, if proven, constitute grounds for the review of the PP's decision. These allegations do not form a basis for the interim interdict and accordingly has no role to play. It would be premature for this court to strike out any allegations not relevant to part A of the application."

The judge made a costs order against Mkhwebane and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) after finding their opposition to the application was baseless and did not seriously attack the requirement necessary for an interim interdict.

The Public Protector said she was disappointed by the court’s decision while the EFF said it planned to appeal the ruling at the Constitutional Court.