Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday he would be taking the report, findings and recommendations released by the public protector on review. File photo by Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan would be taking the public protector's report, findings and recommended remedial action against him on review, his lawyer said on Friday evening. 

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane announced earlier in the day that Gordhan had acted "unlawfully" when he approved retirement benefits for former South African Revenue Services (SARS) deputy commissioner, Ivan Pillay. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa needed to take disciplinary action against Gordhan for his actions, according to Mkhwebane.  

But Gordhan's lawyer, Tebogo Malatji, said on Friday night that the minister took issue "with both the haste and the timing of the release of the report".

"The complaint involves complex considerations of pension fund laws in as far as they relate to public servants. It is doubtful whether due consideration was given to Minister Gordhan’s submissions," he said. 

Mkhwebane's findings were "totally wrong both in fact and in law", said Malatji. 

"In light of the most recent judgment in relation to the Vrede Dairy Project, Minister Gordhan is of the view that the Public Protector has once again erred in her findings and proposed remedial action. We are instructed to institute review proceedings immediately."

Gordhan was criminally charged in relation to Pillay's early retirement approval in October 2016 but the charges were rapidly withdrawn. They were widely viewed as politically motivated.    

In October last year, Mkhwebane issued a subpoena that Gordhan appear before her in relation to the same withdrawn charges. Gordhan appeared in November. 

In May, he received a notice in terms of the Public Protector Act to respond within 14 days to issues Mkhwebane intended to make adverse findings on. 

Gordhan's submissions were made on Wednesday. 

"On 24 May 2019, we received a letter from the Public Protector advising that she is declining Minister Gordhan’s request that he be given a further opportunity to make submissions on appropriate remedial action. The Public Protector’s Section 7(9) notice did not set out the proposed remedial action, hence the request," said Malatji. 

The Public Protector's findings come a day before Ramaphosa is to be sworn in as president following the ANC's victory in this month's national elections.

There has been a question mark over whether Gordhan, a respected former finance minister, would retain a Cabinet seat. Ramaphosa is due to announce his list of ministers in coming days.

African News Agency (ANA)