Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA)
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA)

Rogue unit personal costs order against Mkhwebane an ’expression of Gordhan's outrage, inappropriate’

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Aug 7, 2020

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Johannesburg – Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has accused Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan of seeking a personal costs order against her because she dared to investigate the so-called SA Revenue Service (Sars) “rogue unit”.

Mkhwebane’s legal representative, Thabani Masuku, told the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Friday that a punitive costs order against his client would not be appropriate.

Masuku was presenting arguments on Mkhwebane’s behalf in Gordhan’s application to review and set aside the public protector’s reports on the Sars unit and the early retirement with full pension benefits and subsequent retention of the taxman’s former acting commissioner, Ivan Pillay.

According to Masuku, Gordhan, Pillay and another former Sars commissioner, Oupa Magashula, are seeking a personal costs order against Mkhwebane as an expression of outrage over the public protector’s investigation and findings.

Masuku also warned that the adverse court findings against Mkhwebane did not justify insults and attacks directed at her.

He said he did not know if the applicants in those cases had addressed Mkhwebane in insulting terms.

On Thursday, Masuku accused Gordhan of insulting her by making scandalous and vexatious claims that she is legally illiterate.

”The applicant’s (Gordhan’s) allegations against the public protector are scandalous. The applicant has mounted an extraordinary attack on the public protector,” he said.

Mkhwebane has asked for a costs order should she be successful in her application to strike out scandalous, vexatious, unjustified and offensive insults in Gordhan’s court bid.

“If the application to strike out succeeds, it justifies a punitive cost order of client and own attorney which must be paid by the applicant in his personal capacity,” read Mkhwebane’s heads of argument.

Mkhwebane also filed a counter-application, alleging Gordhan’s conduct in relation to her work was unconstitutional and lacked the constitutional decorum necessary for her to perform her constitutional functions.

The hearing continues.

Political Bureau

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