The High Court in Pretoria has granted the urgent application by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan for the suspension of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s remedial action against him.
Handing down judgement, Judge Sulet Potterill said she was satisfied that Gordhan’s submission, that Mkhwebane did not provide evidence that the so-called ‘rogue unit’ operated as a spy unit, established grounds for Gordhan to interdict.
“The PP orders the president to within 30 days take action against Gordhan, but to also within 30 days submit an implementation plan on how that would take place,” she added.
She further argued that Gordhan would suffer irreparable harm if the interdict is not granted.
The Court also said that President Cyril Ramaphosa cannot be criticized for waiting for outcome of Gordhan’s review before acting.
South Africans reacted swiftly to the High Court judgement.
The court further ordered that the Public Protector and the EFF, who had applied to be the intervening party supporting Mkhwebane, pay Gordhan’s legal costs.
Mkhwebane found earlier in July, that the establishment of the so-called ‘rouge unit’ in 2007 was illegal and that it conducted unlawful intelligence.
Gordhan was SARS commissioner at the time.
Her remedial action stated that Ramaphosa should discipline Gordhan within 30 days of her report.
Mkhwebane further directed the police and National Prosecuting Authority to consider criminal charges against him.
She also gave speaker of parliament Thandi Modise 14 days to refer Gordhan to parliament’s ethics committee to be investigated for violating the ethics code.