South Africa: Another Loss for Mkhwebane as Court Rules in Favour of Ramaphosa

Top: North Gauteng High Court. Bottom-left: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Bottom-right: President Cyril Ramaphosa.
8 August 2019

Cape Town — The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that Cyril Ramaphosa complied with the remedial action of Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane's report regarding former Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay's pension pay out. Judge Letty Molopa-Sethosa, who delivered the ruling, also ordered that the Economic Freedom Fighters and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane pay President Cyril Ramaphosa's legal costs, IOL reports.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represented Mkhwebane, told the court that President Ramaphosa was being used as a proxy for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in applying to stay the disciplinary action recommended by Mkhwebane.

While delivering her judgment, Judge Molopa-Sethosa noted that Ramaphosa's decision to wait for Gordhan's review application before taking disciplinary action against Minister Gordhan was rational. Alfred Mhlanga, head of legal at the office of the Public Protector, spoke to the media after the ruling was handed down and said the judgment would be considered and be given a close reading.

Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, spokesperson for the EFF, voiced concern that Mkhwebane's jurisdiction was being lessened by the ruling and that it was becoming easier for remedial actions recommended by the Public Protector to be suspended. Ndlozi added that the EFF would take a previous ruling by Judge Sulet Potterill, who described Mkhwebane's recommended remedial action as  "vague, contradictory and nonsensical", to the Constitutional Court. Ndlozi believes a favourable outcome in that regard would render Thursday's ruling moot.

Today's judgment comes after the North Gauteng High Court granted Gordhan an interdict allowing him to avert the remedial action recommended by Mkhwebane. Mkhwebane had recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against Gordhan after she found him guilty of "improper conduct" for his approval of former South African Revenue Services deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay's early retirement.

This marks the latest setback in a series of legal troubles for Mkhwebane who also faces an investigation from the Hawks police unit after a complaint was laid by anti-corruption pressure group Accountability Now.

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