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Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane Suffered Another Blow

By Ashok Ramsarup :: South African Public Protector BUSISWE MKHWEBANE has suffered another blow in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.  President Cyril Ramaphosa secured a court victory against the anti-corruption watchdog body concerning remedial action on Enterprises Minister Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan.

Molopa-Sethosa said it was mind-boggling that the Public Protector would not consent to President Ramaphosa’s request to suspend the remedial action against Minister Gordhan. She said similar cases had recently been heard and interdicts were approved.

The high court judge found President Ramaphosa and Minister Gordhan were correct in stating that there was no consistency in implementing the remedial action pending a judicial review. Mkhwebane recommended that remedial action be taken following the retirement of a tax official nine years ago.

Judge Molopa-Sethosa said President Ramaphosa was not opposing the disciplinary action against the Cabinet Minister but was awaiting the review, which was rational.   The case stems from her findings on Minister Gordhan’s approval of early retirement with full pension payout of former SARS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay.

Mkhwebane stated in her report that Minister Gordhan who was the Finance Minister acted unlawfully when he granted Pillay’s early retirement in 2010. Pillay was subsequently re-appointed to the same position on a fixed-term contract.

In his reaction to the high court judgement, Minister Gordhanwelcomed the ruling following the application brought by President  Ramaphosa.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said they would be appealing the judgement.  EFF Spokesperson Mbuyseni Ndlozisaid the organisation disagreed with the ruling.  Ndlozi said they would be attaching this judgement to the application that they had done to the Constitutional Court appealing the judgment of Judge Sulet Potterill last month against the Public Protector.

Meanwhile, a  parliamentary committee would be looking into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office next month.  The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said in a statement it was investigating a criminal charge laid against embattled the Public Protector.

It’s reported that Civil Society Organisation – Democracy in Action – raised R90 000 so far for the legal fees of Mkhwebane. The organisation was hoping to reach R900 000.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦 

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