Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Thursday she had not been served with court papers related to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s High Court review application.
On Wednesday, Gordhan’s lawyers issued a statement to explain that he had applied to the High Court to have the South African Revenue Service’s (Sars) “rogue” unit report, which made adverse findings against him interdicted and set aside.
Although Gordhan did not hold back in the statement issued which described Mkhwebane as inept and malicious, she has taken the high road.
In a brief statement, Mkhwebane noted the application and put on record that she would defend the matter as she has confidence in her findings.
“Advocate Mkhwebane also noted the application to have the report reviewed. She accepts that a review is part of the prescribed process available to aggrieved parties to challenge reports emanating from her office.
“However, advocate Mkhwebane wishes to record her disappointment at how the court application is cloaked in the indignity of personal insults. She will only be commenting on the facts of the matter as engaging in the personal insults is below the dignity of the high offices of responsibility which she and the minister occupy,” the statement read.
Mkhwebane’s investigation found that Gordhan violated the Executive Ethics Code and acted unconstitutionally when he established the investigative unit at Sars when he was the commissioner.
Gordhan ripped the report apart in his court submissions, saying she misapplied the law and singled him out to pursue political motives.
Mkhwebane said she was disappointed by the personal attacks which were meant to divert attention from the report’s findings.
“It is our considered opinion that the emotive language, personal insults and blatant lies or innuendos are meant to divert attention from the real issues and the findings,” she said.