President Cyril Ramaphosa had complied with the public protector's recommendations regarding an investigation into public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, his spokesperson said. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - President Cyril Ramaphosa had complied with the public protector's recommendations regarding an investigation into public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, his spokesperson said on Monday.

Public protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, released a report on May 24 into alleged maladministration and impropriety in the approval of the early retirement fund - with full pension benefits - of former SARS boss, Ivan Pillay. 

Pillay went back to work on a contract basis after being granted the early retirement. 

The decision to approve Pillay's early retirement was done by Gordhan, whom Mkhwebane made adverse findings against in her report.  Gordhan is taking the report on review. 

As part of her remedial action, Mkhwebane said Ramaphosa was to take disciplinary action against Gordhan for failing to uphold the principles of public administration, as per the constitution. 

Khusela Diko, Ramaphosa's spokesperson, said on Monday that the president submitted a written response to Mkhwebane on June 19 wherein he set out his compliance with the recommendations. 

 "The Public Protector had directed the President to take note of the findings in the report insofar as they relate to Minister Gordhan and to take appropriate disciplinary action against the Minister. No deadline was given by when such 'appropriate disciplinary action' should be taken. The Public Protector had also directed the President to submit, within 30 days, an implementation plan indicating how the President would implement the recommended remedial action," said Diko. 

She said that in Ramaphosa's June 19 response, the president "explicitly stated that this written response was in compliance with the Public Protector’s directive for the President to submit an implementation plan within 30 days".

"Setting out the implementation plan, President Ramaphosa assured the Public Protector that he had, as directed, taken note of the findings against Minister Gordhan," said Diko. 

She said Ramaphosa had also drawn Mkhwebane's attention to the fact that Gordhan had brought a high court application on May 28 seeking an order reviewing and setting aside the findings and recommendations contained in the report.

"President Ramaphosa said that having considered the Public Protector’s findings against Minister Gordhan as well as the Minister’s challenges to those findings in his review application, it would be inappropriate to take disciplinary action against Minister Gordhan at this point.

"The President explained that there was a dispute pending before the High Court over the legality of the findings on which to base the recommended disciplinary action. Furthermore, this dispute legally challenged the President’s alleged power to exercise such disciplinary action.

"In the event, the President submitted to the Public Protector that the process of taking appropriate disciplinary action against Minister Gordhan would best be served by waiting until the legal processes of his review proceedings were concluded," said Diko. 

Ramaphosa would thus defer his decision on what disciplinary action to take against Gordhan pending the outcome of the review application, she said. 

African News Agency (ANA)