A number of organisations have suggested Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is trying to thwart the reappointment of Pravin Gordhan into Cabinet.
This was in reaction to her release of a report that he abused his office when awarding the pension payout of former SA Revenue Service (Sars) executive Ivan Pillay.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) yesterday said Gordhan was correct in challenging the report in court, saying its release could not be viewed in isolation. Spokesperson Alex Mashilo questioned the timing of its release and cast doubt on Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office. “Obviously there is a context in which the report was released.
“This was on the eve of a presidential inauguration, which was to be followed by the appointment of the Cabinet by the president. Just last week, another public protector report was set aside and declared irrational and unlawful by a court of law…”
Meanwhile, director of the Helen Suzman Foundation Francis Antonie came out in Gordhan’s defence, citing the lack of gravity of the act Gordhan was accused of.
“It is astonishing that an issue which has, by all accounts, been settled a long time ago, has been resurrected… What happened can at best be regarded as administrative oversight, but that is also stretching credulity.”
A former Sars executive who spoke to The Citizen on the condition of anonymity believed Gordhan exercised and continued to exercise excessive abuse of power over Sars.
“The contracts that were procured at Sars were extended for a long time during the time that Gordhan was at Sars and they continued when he was the finance minister and there was a lot of resistance to go out on tender for a number of services.”
Gordhan could not be reached for comment regarding these allegations at the time of publishing.