Mkhwebane vs Ramaphosa: Why treat Gordhan, Van Rooyen censures differently? - Public Protector

2019-10-24 16:09
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has once again taken aim at President Cyril Rampahosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, questioning the consistency of the president's actions.

Mkhwebane was addressing students at the Tshwane University of Technology South campus in Soshanguve, Pretoria, about "good governance, accountability and transparency" on Thursday.

Early in her term, she said, she had made adverse findings against former ministers Lynne Brown and Des van Rooyen, finding they had breached the executive code of ethics by misleading the National Assembly.

Mkhwebane added when she directed Ramaphosa to take action against them, he applied his mind on the matter and relieved them of their duties.

"I have letters from the director-general in the Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi, in which he confirms that the two were dismissed from the Cabinet on the basis of my findings."

Mkhwebane said she had also issued a report in which she found that Gordhan had breached the ethics code by misleading the National Assembly with regards to whether or not he had met with members of the Gupta family.

She also separately found that he had acted improperly in respect of his role in the establishment of the so-called rogue unit at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in 2007.

Gordhan was the commissioner of SARS at the time.

Mkhwebane said in the remedial action, she had directed the president to take action against him without prescribing the nature of the action that needed to be taken. 

"You can imagine my astonishment when it was alleged that I was attempting to scupper his chances of appointment to the Cabinet."

In July, Gordhan was granted an interdict in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to suspend the remedial action ordered in the rogue unit report against him while he sought a full judicial review, News24 reported.

In her report, she recommended that Ramaphosa should discipline Gordhan within 30 days.

Mkhwebane also directed the police and National Prosecuting Authority to consider instituting criminal charges against him.

However, Ramaphosa did not take action against Gordhan, citing the fact that his minister had approached the High Court to review the Public Protector's report.

The president was found to have acted reasonably in not taking action against Gordhan when Judge Letty Molopa-Sethosa ruled in the case in August.

On Thursday, Mkhwebane said when Van Rooyen took her findings on review, this did not stop Ramaphosa from taking action against him.

"In another case, we are told no action was being taken because the affected party had approached the courts for a review. Again I ask, where is the consistency?"

Mkhwebane also likened herself to judges, in terms of her office having similar powers. 

Read more on:    public protector  |  busisiwe mkhwebane  |  pravin gordhan  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  pretoria
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