Mkhwebane fails yet again as court rules Ramaphosa complied

Image credit: Twitter/Public Protector SA

The Pretoria High Court has ruled that President Cyril Ramaphosa complied with Public Protector’s remedial actions contained in the Ivan Pillay report.

Judge Lettie Molopa-Sethosa granted Ramaphosa’s application for a declaratory order on Thursday.

In her ruling, she said it was “mind boggling” why Public Protector Busisiwe did not consent to Ramaphosa’s application for an interim order suspending implementation of her remedial action.

She ruled that Mkhwebane’s decision not to approve Ramaphosa’s implementation plan of the remedial action did not mean that Ramaphosa had failed to comply.

Judge Molopa-Sethosa further ruled that it was “rational and reasonable” for Ramaphosa to await the outcome of the review application launched by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan against Mkhwebane’s report.

This is because Mkhwebane’s remedial action did not stipulate a timeframe by when Ramaphosa should take disciplinary action against Gordhan, she argued.

She also said the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who intervened in the matter, were “unreasonable” in demanding that Ramaphosa takes disciplinary action against Gordhan while there was a review pending in court.

Minister Gordhan, like everyone else, has rights. Why now subject him to disciplinary action when there is a review pending?

Judge Molopa-Sethosa

The court ordered Public Protector’s office and EFF to pay the costs of their failed legal challenge.

Ivan Pillay’s retirement

The matter relates to Mkhwebane’s report on the early retirement of Ivan Pillay, the former Deputy Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

In the report, Mkhwebane found that Gordhan’s decision to approve Pillay’s early retirement constituted maladministration.

She therefore directed Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan.

Gordhan subsequently filed a review to set aside the report. Ramaphosa therefore decided to await the outcome of that review.

However, Mkhwebane disputed this decision, prompting the president to approach the court for either a declaratory order or interim interdict.

The Public Protector’s office has indicated that it would study the ruling before deciding on the next course of action.

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