Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan is seeking an extension to submit his affidavit in reply to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s subpoena around the establishment of the so-called SARS "rogue unit".
Earlier this month the Public Protector subpoenaed Gordhan to submit a replying affidavit by 13:00 on Tuesday in the matter dating back to his time as the tax agency's commissioner.
The subpoena, which Fin24 has seen, stems from a complaint lodged by Floyd Shivambu, deputy president of the Economic Freedom Fighters, and other anonymous complainants.
Gordhan’s spokesperson Adrian Lackay told Fin24 on Tuesday that the minister has asked for an extension to reply to Mkhwebane. "It’s with the legal teams. There is correspondence with the Public Protector’s office on this matter and we will wait for the correspondence between that office and the legal teams," he said.
Lackay said there was no intention on the part of Gordhan to undermine the office of the Public Protector. "We have issued a statement recently. No one is undermining the office of the Public Protector. This minister is part of the group of people that negotiated the Constitution that we have today."
'Abuse of office'
Lackay previously told Fin24 that the subpoena amounted to an "abuse of office" by Mkhwebane. "[The] same set of allegations have been investigated repeatedly by various institutions – including the office of the Public Protector in 2014 – and no conclusive evidence could be found of any illegality by SARS or Minister Gordhan," he said on April 12.
In the wake of Lackay's statement, the Public Protector defended her investigation, saying she was not harassing the minister and was conducting a legitimate investigation.