The Public Protector has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of being “an accomplice” to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s ‘insults’ against her.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, acting on behalf of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, told the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday that Ramaphosa should have “protected” the Public Protector’s office.
Mpofu argued that the president, by associating with Gordhan’s review application against Mkhwebane, tacitly endorsed the “personal attacks” contained therein.
Gordhan’s review application seeks to set aside Mkhwebane’s report relating to the early retirement of former South African Revenue Service (Sars) Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay.
In his application, Gordhan accuses Mkhwebane of being part of the “state capture fightback project.” Mkhwebane considers this an insult on her integrity.
Mkhwebane found that Gordhan’s approval of that retirement constituted maladministration.
She directed President Ramaphosa to take appropriate disciplinary action against Gordhan.
Ramaphosa opted to await the outcome of Gordhan’s review application before disciplining Gordhan.
He provided Mkhwebane an implementation plan as required, but she did not approve it.
Mkhwebane further held that in the absence of an interdict, the president is obliged to implement the remedial action.
However, Ramaphosa argued that Mkhwebane failed to provide him a timeline or deadline by which he should discipline Gordhan.
Ramaphosa subsequently filed an urgent court application to either declare that he had complied with Mkhwebane’s remedial action.