Mkhwebane suffers another bruising legal loss as Gordhan wins interdict

Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Image credit: Twitter/Public Protector SA

The North Gauteng High Court has granted Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan an interim interdict against implementation of Public Protector’s remedial actions against him.

The matter relates to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the South African Revenue Service (Sars) “rogue unit.”

Among other remedial actions, Mkhwebane had directed President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan.

Gordhan sought an interim interdict to suspend the implementation of the remedial actions pending the outcome of his review application to set aside the report.

Mkhwebane, joined by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), opposed the application during a hearing on 23 July.

However, the court found that Gordhan had established prima facie grounds for a review of Mkhwebane’s report.

It also ruled that Mkhwebane had failed to establish how the interim interdict would have been inconsistent with the purpose of the Constitution.

The court further ruled that an interim interdict is not a final determination of the matter and merely suspends the remedial actions.

On balance of convenience, the Public Protector failed to show how a suspension would irreparably harm the functioning of her office, the court ruled.

On the other hand, the court argued that failure to grant an interim interdict could irreparably infringe on Gordhan’s constitutional rights.

The court further said President Ramaphosa could not be criticised for awaiting the outcome of Gordhan’s review application before taking action against him.

On the contrary, Ramaphosa was abiding by the law, the court said.

The court ruled that the Public Protector must pay some of the costs of Gordhan’s legal counsel.

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