Gordhan hits back: Mkhwebane got facts, law wrong

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has got the facts and the law wrong, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The minister's lawyer Tebogo Malatji issued a statement on Gordhan's behalf on Friday afternoon, following the release of the Public Protector's report on an investigation into allegations of the SARS so-called rogue unit.

Mkhwebane found that the establishment of the unit, in 2007 when Gordhan was commissioner of SARS, was unlawful. In terms of the remedial action – President Cyril Ramaphosa has 30 days to take appropriate disciplinary action against Gordhan for the "violation of the Constitution and the Executive Ethics Code," News24 reported.

According to Gordhan's statement – neither his office nor his legal team had received a "formal notice, correspondence or report" from Mkhwebane about the alleged findings and remedial actions before the Public Protector's press briefing on Friday.

"From today’s announcement, with respect to Minister Gordhan and his tenure as the former Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service, it is apparent that the Public Protector continues to get the facts wrong, get the law wrong and is demonstrably biased," the statement read.

"Whilst respecting the Office of the Public Protector – and cooperating with their investigations - Minister Gordhan, like many others, has recorded his serious misgivings about the incumbent, her conduct and her partiality."

Gordhan has instructed his legal team to consider the report and prepare an urgent review for it to be contested through the courts. Gordhan's legal team will announce the details of the legal action to be taken next week.

A SARS spokesperson in the meantime has told Fin24, in an emailed response, that the revenue service is yet to receive the report.

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