Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is expected to file an urgent application in an attempt to interdict President Cyril Ramaphosa from initiating remedial action in line with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report, which was released on Friday.
In addition, he is expected to attempt to interdict others expected to implement Mkhwebane’s action, including National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise, Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo and SA National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole.
The report found that Gordhan violated the constitution when he approved the establishment of the Sars high risk-investigation unit, often called the “rogue unit”.
Mkhwebane said in the report that it was only the president who had the constitutional mandate to form a covert unit that investigated high-profile individuals.
Gordhan is now expected to file papers to interdict the remedial action, which would allow him enough time to file a separate application in the same court to review Mkhwebane’s findings.
Mkhwebane’s report stated that members of the Sars unit spied on the activities of the Directorate of Specialised Operations (also known as the Scorpions) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). She found the actions and conduct of Gordhan to have been improper and in violation of Section 209 of the constitution. This amounted to maladministration.
Gordhan has in return questioned Mkhwebane’s conduct. The Star reports that his spokesperson Adrian Lackay has defended him, saying that the minister had already recorded his misgivings about Mkhwebane.
“The constitution in section 181 envisages the office of the public protector to be independent, impartial, dignified and effective. To date, in this matter, it has failed in all four respects,” according to Lackay.
The report alleges that Gordhan has not yet decided on a course of action but intends to take the matter under review.
The public protector has ordered Ramaphosa to take action against Gordhan within 30 days of her tabling the report.