Legal protector for Gordhan reacts to withdrawal of application against him by public protector

Prior to the withdrawal of public protectors’s application at the Constitutional Court to appeal the judgment against her by Judge Sulet Potterill, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is adamant that Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane withdrew her appeal against the North Gauteng High Court ruling in the Constitutional Court because it was bound to fail.

Tebogo Malatji, legal advocate for the Public Enterprises Minister reacted on behalf of his client following the confirmation by Mkwebane’s office that she had withdrawn her appeal filed two weeks ago at the apex court in which she sought to challenge the decision of Judge Sulet Potterill to interdict the implementation of remedial action against Gordhan. He also said Malatji said: “We did not expect the withdrawal. We can only speculate about the reasons for the withdrawal but would want to believe it is based on legal counsel that the application has poor prospects of success.”

Oupa Segalwe, Mkhwebane’s spokesperson yesterday said “We can only confirm that there has been a withdrawal but can’t say anything further.” On its Twitter account, the public protector’s office said: “@AdvMkhwebane has indeed withdrawn the application after taking advice on the matter. She is not at liberty to share the details thereof. This is part of our broader litigation strategy concerning this case.”

The notice of the withdrawal states that: “ the first and second applicants (Public Protector and Busisiwe Mkhwebane, respectively) hereby withdraw their application for leave to appeal directly this Honourable Court against the whole of the order and judgment granted by Her Ladyship, Potterill J, of the Gauteng division of the High Court on 29 July 2019… ”

Last month Mkhwebane made scathing findings against Gordhan in her report, saying the minister had misled Parliament about meeting one of the Guptas. she also found that Gordhan played an instrumental role in the formation of a “rogue unit” which was allegedly used to monitor the day-to-day lives of several people in the country.

The protector wanted President Ramaphosa, the National Prosecuting Authority and the police to act against Gordhan for allegedly operating a “rogue unit” during his tenure as SA Revenue Service commissioner in 2007. In her remedial action, she asked prosecutions head advocate Shamila Batohi and the police to institute prosecutorial and criminal investigations against those who were allegedly involved with the “rogue unit”.

Gordhan has since taken her findings on judicial review.

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