Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. File photo: ANA/Nqobile Mbonambi
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is considering asking the high court to rule on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s announcement on social media of her intention to serve notices on him.

On Tuesday, Gordhan, through his spokesperson Adrian Lackay, said Mkhwebane’s announcement on social media was “astounding”.

“The public protector’s announcement on social media, before formally serving her notices on the minister or his legal team, is astounding. The appropriate place to respond to her action will be before a high court judge in court,” Lackay said.

“The minister is obtaining legal advice on the most appropriate legal response.”

Mkhwebane said in a video post on YouTube on Monday that she would serve Gordhan with a new notice regarding allegations that he had lied to Parliament about his meeting with the Gupta family.

Mkhwebane also said Gordhan was supposed to have answered to allegations that he was involved with the “rogue unit” while he was Sars commissioner in 2007.

In the post, Mkhwebane said she was ready for a backlash from Gordhan and the media comprising accusations she was persecuting him.

“I am ready to receive the backlash. I am not targeting or harassing any ministers, specifically Minister Gordhan. I know that one will be faced with a lot of questions and there will be allegations that I am still persecuting Minister Gordhan, but I am doing my work. I understand when it comes to the issue of the rogue unit, people have lost lives, people have been tainted, and I think that is still going to happen,” she said.

Mkhwebane was adamant that there were more complaints against Gordhan, saying she would continue serving notices on him.

The post came less than 10 days after she released a controversial report in which she asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to act against Gordhan regarding an early pension payout to former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay in August 2016.

At the time speculation was rife that the announcement, made on the eve of Ramaphosa’s inauguration as president of the country, was aimed at thwarting any plans by Ramaphosa to appoint Gordhan to his cabinet.

The speculation grew after Mkhwebane allegedly failed to provide Gordhan with “special circumstances” which led her to investigate a matter that took place nine years ago, as Mkhwebane’s mandate, according to the Public Protector Act, is to investigate cases concerning matters taking place within a period of two years.

Gordhan argued Mkhwebane was supposed to have given him substantial reasons for investigating an “old case” but had failed to do so when she published her damning report last month.

This prompted Gordhan to approach the High Court in Pretoria to review her report. A decision by the court is pending.

Gordhan is likely to approach the courts again as his legal team confirmed that Mkhwebane had failed to provide him with special circumstances behind her decision to pursue the 12-year-old rogue unit matter.

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