JOHANNESBURG – The impasse between President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Public Protector continues, with the president now arguing that Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane can’t expect him to take action against Pravin Gordhan when she herself doesn’t say what action must be taken and by when.
Mkhwebane recommended that the president should take appropriate action against Gordhan after she found that he violated the Constitution when he approved the early retirement of former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
But the president has since indicated that he would wait for the outcome of Gordhan’s court application to review and set aside the report before taking any action.
But the Public Protector said that to suspend the implementation of her remedial action, the president must get a court interdict, saying that failure to do so, would mean the president was violating the Constitution.
The president and the Public Protector seem to agree on one thing, that remedial action by Busisiwe Mkhwebane was binding and cannot be ignored unless it has been set aside by a court or that there was a court order interdicting it’s implementation.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko believes because the Public Protector didn’t say when the president must take action against Pravin Gordhan, Ramaphosa was within his rights to wait for the outcome of the minister’s review application.
“There’s a bit of a grey area in terms of what appropriate disciplinary action can and should be but unfortunately, she can’t at this point she can’t change a report that she has submitted already.”
But Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Oupa Segwale said that the president should have indicated what action he would take against the minister and when.
“The implementation was supposed to be to indicate ‘I was going to take this kind of action and this is how it is going to unfold.’”
He has also indicated the Public Protector hasn’t decided yet on whether to approach the courts, to force Ramaphosa to act against Gordhan.
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