South Africa: Public Protector vs Pravin Gordhan - It Is Also a Matter of Perception

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan (file photo).

The battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and the public enterprises minister appears to be entering its final stages. Who wins could boil down to what image the public has of the two protagonists.

On Friday 5 July, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released yet another set of findings about SARS and events that transpired there more than six years ago. Again, the Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan appears to be the target of these findings.

There are many questions regarding the latest findings and Mkhwebane's conduct. But the main question may well be whether or not the public perception of Gordhan is changing. If it is not, then the findings may have little impact. Still, it appears that the end-game is approaching, although it is uncertain what that will be.

On Friday, Mkhwebane released findings in which she said the unit at SARS that was set up to investigate high-level tax evasion was created illegally. Former deputy SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay immediately moved to have a legal review of the finding. He also released documents in which he explained his response to her questions in which he explained how documents were taken from safes, and how former president Jacob Zuma's son Edward...

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