SACP leader Solly Mapaila has defended Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the work of the controversial Sars intelligence unit. Picture: Dimpho Maja African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - SA Communist Party (SACP) leader Solly Mapaila has defended Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the work of the controversial Sars intelligence unit while urging Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to not allow herself to be used in the state capture "fightback". 

Mapaila was speaking at a media briefing held by a group of civil society organisations, under the banner Hands Off Our Democracy, focused on confronting "state capture fightback". 

The organisations, which include the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Amnesty International, Corruption Watch, Section 27, the SA Communist Party (SACP), the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law, announced the intention to hold a mass rally on Sunday aimed at mobilising society against the continued "fightback".

Mapaila used Thursday's briefing to heap praise on Gordhan for standing firm against corruption and called for people like him to be protected. 

"People like comrade PG, who have stood firm implementing the government resolutions and movement's resolutions to fight against corruption should be protected by all of us. 

Video: Khanyisile Ngcobo


"If we allow someone like PG to fall, all of us will fall one by one. Corruption will never be defeated." 

He also spoke out in defence of the controversial unit, labelled 'rogue' by its detractors, praising its members as "heroes" for the work done in apprehending tax dodgers.

"A unit that has done a wonderful job, a unit that has detained and held accountable criminals, drug dealers, illicit tobacco traders, abalone poachers and many other criminals and tax dodgers.

"That unit, created within the framework of the law, those comrades are heroes. In fact, they deserve a round of applause for the work that they've done for this country. But they've been criminalised by the rogue unit, the real rogue unit, that has captured our institutions."

He said those who were continuing with the 'rogue' unit narrative and defending Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane were doing so in an attempt to "capture" Sars. 

He implored Mkhwebane to not allow herself to be used as "the hired gun of the fightback campaign". 

Mapaila's words come as Mkhwebane and Gordhan prepare for a face-off in court over the Public Protector's rogue unit report. 

Mkhwebane made devastating findings against Gordhan for his role in the establishment of a so-called rogue spying unit at Sars.  

Shortly after the minister lodged an urgent application to suspend and interdict the PP's remedial orders, an application supported by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

This is the second report by the Public Protector Gordhan is challenging in court. 

IOL