Mkhwebane: I'm keeping mum on Gordhan court review bid

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Pic: Netwerk24)
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Pic: Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has said she is not intending to comment on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's "frivolous" court challenge to her report on him.

Speaking at a briefing in Pretoria, Mkhwebane said some media briefings and statements "end up in the other party's affidavits", suggesting this could undermine her case.

At the same briefing Mkhwebane found that President Cyril Ramaphosa deliberately misled Parliament when he responded to a question about a R500 000 donation by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign. 

Earlier in July Mkhwebane found that Gordhan lied to Parliament by not disclosing his meeting with a member of the Gupta family. She also found that the so-called SARS 'rogue unit' – set up in 2007 when he was commissioner of the tax agency – was established illegally. Gordhan has taken the findings of the report on review. Ramaphosa on Wednesday filed an affidavit in support of Gordhan. 

In his founding review affidavit, Gordhan said Mkhwebane had "demonstrated she is unfit to hold the office of the protector," describing her  actions as incompetent, unlawful and unconstitutional. 

'Learned the hard way'

Asked about Gordhan's affidavit and his application to have her report dismissed, Mkhwebane said she would not further comment on the matter before it gets to court.

"We will deal with the Pravin Gordhan affidavit in the court process when the time comes. I have learned the hard way that some media briefings and statements end up in the other party's affidavits against the Public Protector," said Mkhwebane.

Mkhwebane acknowledged that Gordhan has a right to challenge her report in court, but said members of the executive also had a responsibility to respect Chapter 9 institutions.

'Frivolous'

"As a person who has taken an oath in terms of the Constitution, you expect a certain level of behaviour and respect for the Constitution and the law. People have the right to take our reports on review.

"Unfortunately some might do this frivolous application. But I am within my rights to oppose such applications," Mkhwebane.

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