Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has been successful in staving off the remedial action that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane instructed should be taken against him.
The North Gauteng High Court granted him the interdict on Monday morning.
Judge Sulet Potterill ruled that Mkwebane was not “entitled” to entertain complaints that were older than two years and that her findings on the so-called South African Revenue Services (Sars) rogue unit were “flawed”.
The Public Protector report, which was released earlier this month, instructed President Cyril Ramaphosa to initiate disciplinary hearings against Gordhan within 30 days of the release of the report.
Gordhan, who was represented by Advocate Wim Trengrove, had approached the court last week seeking a suspension and interdict on the Public Protector’s remedial orders pending the final determination of a review application to set aside the report and its findings.
Gordhan argued that the remedial action by Mkhwebane should be tested in a judicial review because it interfered with the exercise of statutory and constitutional powers. He filed the urgent interdict after Mkhwebane ordered that President Cyril Ramaphosa initiate remedial action against him.
Potteril pointed out holes in Mkhwebane’s remedial action, saying on Monday that her orders were “vague, contradictory and nonsensical”.
Potterill made mention of the fact that, should the interdict be granted, it would be Gordhan who would suffer “irreparable harm” and not the Public Protector’s office.
In her report, Mhkwebane had found that the establishment of the intelligence unit during Gordhan’s tenure as Sars commissioner was in violation of the country’s legislation on intelligence gathering and the Constitution.