President supports Gordhan's application – The Presidency

Ramaphosa says any action he may take against Minister would need to be informed by validity of PP's findings

President Cyril Ramaphosa files supporting affidavit to Minister Pravin Gordhan’s review application

17 July 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has filed a supporting affidavit in the North Gauteng High Court in relation to Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan’s court application for the suspension of the enforcement of remedial action recommended by the Public Protector.

The legal action arises from an investigation by the Public Protector into a matter involving the establishment of an investigative unit of the South African Revenue Services (SARS).

Minister Gordhan has asked the North Gauteng High Court to suspend the enforcement of the recommended remedial action pending a review by the same court of the Public Protector’s investigation into and report on the SARS matter.

In an affidavit filed with the North Gauteng High Court, President Ramaphosa has indicated his support for Minister Gordhan’s suspension application in as far as the relief sought by the Minister relates to the President.

In his submission to the court, President Ramaphosa notes that Minister Gordhan has urged the North Gauteng High Court to interdict the Public Protector from enforcing the remedial action in question.

The Minister contends that the recommended action should be suspended pending determination of the North Gauteng High Court review of the Public Protector’s review on the SARS matter.

The President says in his submission that it is clear from Minister Gordhan’s review application that there is a bona fide justiciable dispute between Minister Gordhan and the Public Protector over the legal validity of the Public Protector's investigations and findings and the remedial action she has directed in her report.

Moreover, Minister Gordhan also takes issue with the tacit assumption of the Public Protector that the President has legal powers "to take appropriate disciplinary action" against the Minister when the Minister is not appointed to the Cabinet as an employee who is subject to disciplinary action but rather as a Minister who serves at the pleasure of the President.

The President argues that any “appropriate disciplinary action" he may take against the Minister would need to be informed by whether the investigation and findings of the Public Protector are legally valid and whether the President has what, if any, “disciplinary" powers over members of the Cabinet.

The President says these are all issues to be determined by the North Gauteng High Court in the Minister’s principal review application.

In the circumstances, says the President, it would be premature for him to attempt to take "appropriate disciplinary action" against Minister Gordhan while the principal review application is still pending and the disputes over the validity of the investigation into, and findings against, Minister Gordhan and the extent, if any, of the President’s  "disciplinary" powers over the Minister remain unresolved.

The President therefore supports Minister Gordhan’s application that remedial action be suspended pending the principal review.

Issued by Khusela Diko, Spokesperson, 17 July 2019