The High Court in Pretoria has reserved judgment in the case between President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Ramaphosa had approached the High Court to seek an interdict against remedial actions of the Public Protector against Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan.
Mkwebane’s probe found that Gordhan unlawfully authorised the early retirement of then South African Revenue Service (SARS) Deputy Commissioner, Ivan Pillay.
In her report, Mkhwebane instructed Ramaphosa to take appropriate action against Gordhan in the Pillay matter.
However, Ramaphosa has not taken any action and instead sought a judicial review on the matter.
Public Protector’s legal representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu, argued in court that Ramaphosa is not entitled to the interim interdict he is seeking against Mkwebane’s findings.
Mpofu maintained that Ramaphosa must reprimand Gordhan and respect the office of the Public Protector.
“To show that the President is not entitled for the relief that he seeks in this court. My Lady, you can go through all the law books and all the precedence, we challenge you to find the case where a party asks for interim relief pending somebody else’s case.”
Mpofu argued that Ramaphosa and Gordhan are playing delaying tactics at the expense of innocent South Africans.
“If Minister Gordhan is not disciplined and he’s going to lose the review. In other words the whole country must be brought to a standstill or ransom for five years until the two leave office … So all what we stand for in this democracy must be undermined for the convenience of Mr Gordhan, one man.”
Ramaphosa’s lawyer Hamilton Maenetje has argued that granting the President an interdict against Public Protector will be in the interest of justice.
Maenetje says “And so what the court will be doing by granting this is to preserve the executive discretion conferred by the Constitution on the President. This to decide when the remedial action will be taken and what form it will be taking. It is not to take away the powers of the Public Protector.”