Gordhan launches urgent application against PP's report

JOHANNESBURG - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has lodged an urgent application against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Gordhan also wants the court to declare the Public Protector acted in breach of her constitutional duty to be independent.

The minister seeks to suspend and interdict enforcement of the remedial orders by Mkhwebane in her report on the SARS intelligence unit.

READ: Gordhan hits back at Mkhwebane

Gordhan's lawyers said in a statement the application by Gordhan wants to review and set aside the report and have it declared unlawful, unconstitutional, irrational and invalid.

"The Public Protector misunderstands the law to arrive at a pre-determined outcome relating to the powers of intelligence services. There is no legal obstacle to SARS establishing an investigative unit to deal with the tax implications of organized crime and illicit trade like cigarette smuggling. In fact, this capacity is being re-established thanks to the findings and recommendations of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry."

The report ignores facts and their significance to reach its findings regarding the establishment of the SARS investigative unit.  Among these are the discredited Sikhakhane panel report and its erroneous legal reasoning, the Sunday Times’ apology in April 2016 for its reporting relating to the SARS unit, Judge Kroon’s apology to the members of the unit for not interrogating the issues and making wrong findings, KPMG’s withdrawal of its report and refunding of the fees earned for it.

"The Public Protector misapplies the provisions of the Constitution and applicable legislation when making adverse findings. For example, section 209 of the Constitution regulates the establishment of intelligence services. It does not prevent SARS from establishing an investigative unit," the statement reads.

READ: Gordhan files court papers against Mkhwebane's report 

Mkhwebane has ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan within 30 days.

This after Mkhwebane found that Gordhan, during his tenure as the Commissioner of SARS, established an intelligence unit in violation of the South African Intelligence legislation.

Gordhan has claimed there is a conspiracy against him.