Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's lawyer Advocate Wim Trengrove in the North High Court. Photo: Noni Mokati.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's lawyer Advocate Wim Trengrove in the North High Court. Photo: Noni Mokati.

#GordhanvsPublicProtector: Court asked to rule against PP's 'irrational' findings

By Noni Mokati Time of article published Jul 23, 2019

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Pretoria - The lawyers for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan have asked the North Gauteng High Court to rule against remedial actions set down by Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane against their client, citing that the findings of her report are "flawed".

Advocate Wim Trengrove on Tuesday said Mkhwebane's orders had to be suspended immediately and that she be halted from effecting any of her remedial actions.

The request by Trengrove and the legal team comes after Mkhwebane released her report early this month in which she found that Gordhan had violated the executive ethics code for his alleged involvement in the so-called SARS rogue unit. She said that during Gordhan's tenure as Commissioner and alongside Ivan Pillay who was second in charge, Sars had violated section 209 of the Constitution which confers the powers and authority to establish an intelligence service only to the President as head of the national executive.

Mkhwebane had also indicated that the unit in question allegedly obtained illegal equipment to conduct intelligence operations and that Gordhan had lied by not disclosing a meeting he had with the controversial Gupta family.

She ordered that within 60 working days criminal investigation be instituted against Gordhan, Pillay and all officials involved with the unit and that Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against the minister.

However, Trengrove said, Sars never dabbled or sought to compromise national security adding that Mkhwebane had misread some of the sections of the intelligence Act.

He further said Mkhwebane's position that Gordhan had misled Parliament was an "irrational finding, devoid of any supporting evidence whatsoever".

He also argued that the application brought forward by the EFF that Mkhwebane was well in her right to ask that Ramaphosa take action against Gordhan does not hold any water.

EFF leader Julius Malema in the Gauteng North High Court. Photo: Noni Mokati.

"The EFF's position seems to be based on misconceptions that there is no need for a suspension order as all that the Public Protector requires Ramphosa to do is to institute disciplinary action against Gordhan," he said. 

He also blasted the application by EFF leader Julius Malema saying it was not based on any facts but assertions.

Trengrove said that the unit was lawfully established and that the public protector's findings are wrong in law.

The lawyers have also argued that it would be unlawful for Ramaphosa to discipline Gordhan without affording him a hearing.  

Deliberations in the urgent application continue.

Political Bureau

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