If you’re going to try and take on Pravin Gordhan, you better be ready for the backlash. Busisiwe Mkhwebane has learned that the hard way this week, after the Public Enterprises Minister released a scathing statement that slammed the Public Protector for her alleged incompetence and “misunderstanding of the law”.
This comes as Gordhan lodged an urgent interdict in the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday evening against the findings of her most recent report which implicates him.
Pravin Gordhan vs Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Last Friday, Mkhwebane recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa should take remedial action against Gordhan, for allowing an early pension payout to Ivan Pillay at SARS in 2011. She also asked for PG to be held accountable for “misleading Parliament” about a meeting he had with a well-known Gupta-ally in 2010.
Despite something of a backlash, the PP has stood firm and continued in her attempts to have the minister disciplined within 30 days of her judgement, and for National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to refer the report to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members.
In response, we’ve got this: A media statement that fans the flames of animosity between the two parties. Gordhan has also filed an affidavit – reportedly 1 100 pages in length – to supplement his case. The minister certainly doesn’t do things by halves. Here’s the best of a very damning retort towards the Public Protector.
In quotes: Pravin Gordhan responds to Busisiwe Mkhwebane:
She’s “ignorant” to the facts
“The Public Protector misunderstands the law to arrive at a pre-determined outcome relating to the powers of intelligence services. Her report ignores facts and their significance to reach its findings regarding the establishment of the SARS investigative unit.”
Mkhwebane accused of “knowing her findings were false”
“Advocate Mkhwebane acted in breach of her constitutional duties to be independent. She dishonestly – or recklessly – made her findings in the Report against Minister Gordhan, in that they knew that the findings were false or were reckless as to their truth.”
Pravin Gordhan respects the office, but not the incumbent
“Whilst I have great respect for the Office of the Public Protector I doubt the competence, integrity, legal literacy and constitutional grasp of its incumbent of her powers, duties and functions.”
Not doing her job properly?
“Instead of dealing with the pressing complaints of citizens, she is using the office for ulterior motives or the political motives of others. My belief is that the resources of this esteemed office are best employed doing what it was constitutionally envisioned to do i.e. protect the public from ongoing maladministration.”
“Unconstitutional, unlawful”: Pravin Gordhan lets fly
“The competence and credibility of the Public Protector and her understanding of the Constitution have already been negatively pronounced on by the Courts: She has denied them procedural fairness, or have had those reports set aside on the basis that her findings were unconstitutional and unlawful…”
Busisiwe Mkhwebane: A history of “incompetence”
“Her conduct is the latest example of her now lengthy history of acting incompetently, unlawfully, unconstitutionally, unfairly and unjustifiably…The taxpayers of South Africa should not have to continue to fund her unlawful conduct.”
Pravin Gordhan saved the best until last…
“An adverse costs order would be one way for this Court to join in those earlier efforts to correct her approach to her important work. Indeed, her lack of reflection on her role and powers in light of those other decisions is a further basis for the costs order against Adv Mkhwebane.”
Source: The South African