Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) on Wednesday said it would seek legal advice on whether it could challenge the appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Public Enterprises minister.

On Friday Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report in which she found that Gordhan had violated the country’s constitution.

On Tuesday, Gordhan's lawyers filed a review application asking the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to set aside the report.

ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula said he was disappointed with Gordhan’s appointment. He accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of “disrespecting his own oath of office”.

“It is our view that the decision is irrational in that he should have abided by the remedial action to discipline Pravin Gordhan unless advised otherwise by a court of law.

“ATM will be approaching our lawyers to seek guidance on appropriate recourse,” said Zungula.

Following Mkhwebane’s report, African Transformation Movement (ATM) joined EFF in calling for a review of Gordhan’s fitness to hold public office.
Meanwhile, civil society organisations that had backed Gordhan in his dispute with Mkhwebane welcomed his return to Public Enterprises.

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation executive director Neeshan Balton said Gordhan who Ramaphosa retained as deserved the reappointment because he had not been found guilty by any court of law.

“This show that those calls were not heeded to by the president because in our view there was no basis to do that.

“The president said he wanted men and women who are committed to building a capable state, people with integrity and people who were going to be able to root out corruption and state capture.

“Pravin Gordhan has not been found guilty of any of those things,” said Balton.  

While it had been defending Gordhan, the Kathrada Foundation had been also calling for Mkhwebane’s removal from office.

Active Citizen Movement (ACM) spokesperson Ben Madokwe said the only time that Gordhan could be removed from the public office is when he is found guilty of committing a crime.   

“The public protector’s finding against Gordhan are not so damning that we can say he must step down.

“Currently the public protector is sitting on shaky ground some of her findings are not convincing as they have been challenged in court. We welcome (Gordhan’s) appointment,” said Madokwe.

In a statement, ACM further commended Ramaphosa for resisting pressure to sideline Gordhan.

“The president fortunately did not pay attention to the kangaroo court of the VBS looters and other state capture beneficiaries who were calling for his head.

“They must all account through the legal process for their misdemeanors,” read the statement.

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