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CAPE TOWN — If you want to look for manifestations of the Zuptoid/Ramaphosa battle in the ANC look no further than the amateurish but dogged attempts by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to nail Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Fed up with her attempts to breath life into the multiple-discredited ‘Rogue Unit,’ within SARS via complaints laid with her by the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu and an ‘anonymous’ source, Gordhan is going on the offensive. His lawyers want to know upon what exactly she bases her allegations that he’s colluding with former SARS colleagues whom she’s subpoenaed. Denying this outright, they claim that she’s in the domain of conjecture which impugns the integrity of her office. (As if she hasn’t done enough to have already achieved that). They cite Section 6(9) of the Public Protector Act, 1994 which says she must provide them with what she considers to be the special circumstances required to probe complaints older than two years. Either there are special circumstances or Mkhwebane is incompetent and/or carrying out a Zuptoid agenda. The Hawks, the NPA and the Nugent Commission concluded there was no wrongdoing. No less than the North Gauteng High Court found Mkhwebane biased and unable to comprehend her office (regarding her now-famous Reserve Bank injunction). Need one say more? – Chris Bateman
Media statement on behalf of minister Pravin Gordhan: Public Protector subpoena – complaint by Floyd Shivambu and anonymous: South African Revenue Service (SARS)
- We wish to place on record, particular facts about our interactions with the Office of the Public Protector on behalf of our client, Minister Pravin Gordhan.
- Minister Gordhan is fundamentally committed to complying with the Constitution, with the letter of the law and with the institutions that our Constitution has established to protect and advance democracy and good governance.
- We take serious issue with any suggestion by the Public Protector that there was collusion by ‘implicated parties who were served with subpoenas’ to coordinate how our client responds to her office. These unfortunate remarks, in her statement to the media earlier today, have no basis in fact and represent conjecture which impugns on the Office of the Public Protector. Minister Gordhan has not met with any person subpoenaed by the Public Protector nor with any official of the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) in relation to the subpoena issued by the Public Protector. We will be challenging the Public Protector to provide the factual basis for the statement suggesting that Minister is acting in concert with others and why he is referred to as an implicated party.
- In the public interest we are releasing the correspondence with the office of the Public Protector regarding its investigation into a complaint by Mr Floyd Shivambu and an anonymous party, regarding SARS.
- It is incorrect for the office of the Public Protector to suggest that the Minister only requested a postponement on 22 April 2019 and to suggest that the reason for such a request was access to SARS records. Key amongst the issues we raised with the Public Protector was that she must provide us with what she considered to be special circumstances as contemplated in Section 6(9) of the Public Protector Act, 1994 which provides that she shall not investigate complaints which have not been referred to her office within two years from the occurrence of the matter concerned, save if there are special circumstances to do so. We also raised issue with her on why such special circumstances exist in the face of a prior investigation by her predecessor, the Hawks, the NPA and the Nugent Commission, which have traversed the issues she is now investigating, and have all effectively concluded that there was no wrongdoing. The Minister was also concerned about the short time period to the deadline given the Easter Weekend as well as the requirement that he must appear in person to request an extension for submitting an affidavit.
- We are yet to officially receive a response to the substantive matters raised in our letter of 16 April 2019 which are primary and germane to the request for an extension as well as the follow up letter of 22 April 2019. Apart from the media statement the Public Protector issued today, no correspondence has been received by us from her office.
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