Pravin Gordhan fires off legal demand for proof after public protector's 'untrue' collusion claim
There is no basis in fact for public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's assertion that responses to her investigation into public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan might have been “co-ordinated”.
This is according to a letter issued by Gordhan's lawyer in response to a statement issued on Tuesday - in which Mkhwebane confirmed granting Gordhan a deadline extension for him to submit documents to her office. Mkhwebane raised concerns about a meeting that allegedly took place after she had subpoenaed various implicated parties.
The investigation is in connection with allegations of improper conduct, a violation of the executive ethics code, and irregular and unlawful activities by Gordhan. These date back to his time as SA Revenue Service commissioner.
Lawyer Tebogo Malatji, representing Gordhan, said: "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 have no basis in fact and represent conjecture which impugns on the office of the public protector."
He said categorically: "Minister Gordhan has not met with any person subpoenaed by the Public Protector nor with any official of the South African Revenue Service 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 [Gordhan] is acting in concert with others and why he is referred to as an implicated party."