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Public Protector seeks Ramaphosa's intervention in SARS probe

May 06 2019 19:21
Compiled by Lameez Omarjee, Fin24

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, seeking his intervention to get Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to cooperate in her office's probe into the SARS rogue unit, her spokesperson has confirmed.

According to a Business Day report, Mkhwebane had written to the president on April 30. The Public Protector's Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe confirmed this to Fin24 via WhatsApp on Monday.

'Cooperation and compliance' from Gordhan

"She essentially needs the president to intervene with a view to ensuring that there is cooperation and compliance on the part of the minister (Pravin Gordhan)," he told Fin24.

Mkhwebane is investigating a complaint by EFF Deputy president Floyd Shivambu and others about - among other things - the establishment of the "rogue unit" at the revenue service. Previously, Mkhwebane had subpoenaed Gordhan to respond to the allegations.

Gordhan had requested an extension to provide his reply, which was granted by the Public Protector's office with a deadline of May 3.

Legal advice

Gordhan's spokesperson Adrian Lackey said that media queries on the matter are under consideration, and that legal advice is being sought before issuing public responses. 

Previously Gordhan's attorneys made publicly available the correspondence between the Public Protector and the minister.

Gordhan's attorney Tebogo Malatji has stated that the matter being investigated by Mkhwebane has already been considered by her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Nugent Commission, all of which have concluded that there was no wrongdoing on Gordhan's part.

The Public Protector, in turn, has said that her investigation is distinct from the NPA's previous probe, as it focuses on "maladministration while the NPA pursued the criminal aspects of the case".

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