EFF promises to go to court if Ramaphosa fails to implement PP's remedial action

Pravin Gordhan (File, /AFP/Getty Images)
Pravin Gordhan (File, /AFP/Getty Images)

The EFF has promised to approach the courts if President Cyril Ramaphosa does not apply the remedial actions as set out by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

During a press briefing on Friday, Mkhwebane said she had looked into claims that Gordhan had lied to Parliament by not disclosing his meeting with a member of the Gupta family. Following her investigation into the matter, she found that Gordhan had failed to remember anything that happened during the supposed meeting, which she thought was implausible.

Mkhwebane had also looked into allegations that SARS had established an unlawful intelligence unit (the so-called "rogue unit") in 2007 and that it had allegedly obtained illegal equipment to conduct intelligence operations.

Gordhan was the commissioner of SARS at the time. He was later appointed as minister of finance in 2009.

On these allegations, she found that former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula had lied under oath during his interview with her by saying no such intelligence unit existed. The unit was established without involving the State Security Agency (SSA).

ALSO READ: SARS and the 'rogue' unit - the ultimate guide

Under former finance minister Trevor Manuel's tenure, SARS had already begun operating the unit and Gordhan should have been aware of this, she said. The commissioner of SARS is the accounting officer and was therefore accountable.

Reacting to a damning report by Mkhwebane, which was released on Friday afternoon, the EFF pushed Ramaphosa to fire Gordhan from the Cabinet with immediate effect. 

In a statement, the EFF also called for police commissioner Khehla Sitole to promptly implement the remedial action to investigate Gordhan, as well as former SARS commissioners Ivan Pillay and Magashule within 60 days for their alleged involvement in the rogue unit. 

"Failure to do so will prompt the EFF to approach courts to enforce this binding remedial action," the party's spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said.

The party, which has been in Mkhwebane's corner during this matter, welcomed her findings, adding that she had confirmed its long held view that Gordhan had illegally engaged in espionage through a rogue unit within SARS.

Ndlozi said the party was concerned that Mkhwebane had also found that the former finance minister was complicit in the establishment of the rogue unit, adding that he should be held accountable, "as it is improbable that he did not know of the existence of such a unit".

"Gordhan, together with his gang, violated the constitutional rights of individuals by invading their privacy. They essentially arrogated themselves the power they do not and should have never had."

Meanwhile, the DA has called for the rule of law to be respected.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said: "Whatever the view one may hold of the Public Protector, the rule of law must be respected. The findings against Gordhan in relation to the SARS unit are serious."

The DA has previously called for a parliamentary inquiry into Mkhwebane's fitness for office. In June, the party made its third attempt to kickstart removal proceedings.

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