Lawyers for President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday told the High Court in Pretoria that if the remedial action recommended by the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was not implemented it would have no bearing on public interest.
The case between Ramaphosa and Mkhwebane is related to a pension payout to former South African Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay when he took early retirement.
He was later rehired on a fixed-term contract in the same position.
Mkhwebane found that Gordhan unlawfully and improperly approved Pillay’s early retirement and recommended that remedial action be implemented.
Ramaphosa’s lawyer Advocate Hamilton Maenetje argued that the office of the Public Protector served the public and if her remedial action was temporarily suspended it would not jeopardise the public interest.
He said by not taking action against Gordhan, the president was not in breach of the Constitution.
Maenetje added that just because Ramaphosa hadn’t disciplined Gordhan for now, it did not mean he wouldn’t.
He also questioned how a wait by the Public Protector would affect the case when Pillay’s payout happened over 10 years ago.
The court was asked to grant Ramphosa stay of remedial action and for the court to decide on the cost order.
Meanwhile, Gordhan was appealing the Public Protector’s findings.
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