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Public Protector grants Gordhan extension for 'rogue unit' submission

Apr 23 2019 18:29
Khulekani Magubane, Fin24

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has agreed to extend the deadline by which Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan is expected to submit an affidavit relating to the so-called rogue unit as well as various other allegations.

The subpoena, which Fin24 has seen, stems from a complaint lodged by Floyd Shivambu, deputy president of the Economic Freedom Fighters, as well as other anonymous complainants.

Gordhan was initially directed to respond to allegations regarding the "rogue unit", and allegedly unlawful means of pursuing the tax affairs of EFF leader Julius Malema, on Tuesday afternoon.

However, he requested an extension to the deadline, EWN earlier reported.

According to a statement issued by the Public Protector, the Minister has been given until Friday 3 May to submit the documents.

'Spirit of fairness'

"He (Gordhan) requested the extension, citing a decision by SARS to procure a legal opinion from counsel on whether it would be lawful to share with implicated parties, including Minister Gordhan, certain records that are in its possession," the statement said.

In the statement, Mkhwebane said her office would subpoena the records in question directly from SARS, adding that she believed that SARS accounting officers appreciated the tax body's constitutional obligation to assist the office of the Public Protector.

"In the spirit of fairness, I have decided to grant Minister Gordhan the extension he has requested so that he may have a reasonable opportunity to gather the information I need as some of it goes a few years back," Mkhwebane said.

Shivambu’s complaint claims that Gordhan was party to the violation of section 41(1) of the Constitution when allowing a so-called rogue unit at the South African Revenue Service to operate during his time as SARS commissioner.

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