Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Freedom Under Law (FUL) on Saturday deplored Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's adverse findings against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan as a rehash of the discredited charges against him under former president Jacob Zuma's administration.

"Freedom Under Law is dismayed but not surprised to learn of the public protector’s findings in respect of Mr Ivan Pillay’s early retirement and Minister Pravin Gordhan’s authorisation of the retirement," said Nicole Fritz, the CEO of the rights group.

"The matters canvassed in the public protector’s report are the exact same matters as those which frame one of the most notorious episodes in the National Prosecuting Authority’s history – the decision to charge and then ultimately ignominiously withdraw charges against Gordhan, Pillay, and former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula," she said.

Mkhwebane found that Gordhan's approval of Pillay's early retirement and subsequent re-employment on a fixed-term contract amounted to "maladministration" and directed President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against him.

Fritz said Mkwebane's findings were not only alarming, but confirmed her disregard for fairness and the basic tenets of justice.

"This attempt to reheat a long cold dish and serve it up to the public as evidence of wrongdoing is on its own alarming. But that the public protector releases her report a mere two days after receiving responses from the implicated parties – failing to meaningfully engage the responses – makes a mockery of the most basic tenets of justice." 

African News Agency/ANA