Parliament says it will comply with the ruling of the High Court in Pretoria to suspend the remedial action of the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in the South African Revenue Service (SARS) matter.
This is pending Gordhan’s seeking of a judicial review of Mkhwebane’s findings that he violated the constitution when he authorised the establishment of the investigative unit at SARS.
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise is the fourth respondent in the matter between Gordhan and the Public Protector.
Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo says: “In her remedial actions, the Public Protector had directed the Speaker of the National Assembly to refer Mr Gordhan to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests within 14 working days of the receipt of her report. The court today ruled that the remedial actions be suspended, while Mr Gordhan seeks a full judicial review of the report of the Public Protector on the SARS Investigative Unit. The Speaker of the National Assembly, who was cited as the fourth respondent in today’s matter, had filed a notice to abide.”
Meanwhile, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Chief Whip Narend Singh says it is up to Parliament to take the decision on how to deal with calls from the Helen Suzman Foundation and others for the removal of Mkhwebane as Public Protector.
In a letter to the Speaker, the Foundation makes reference to the Constitutional Court judgment in the matter between the Reserve Bank/Absa-Bankorp and the Public Protector.
Speaker, Thandi Modise still has to respond to the Foundation – which says adverse court rulings have repeatedly brought Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office into question.
Singh elaborates on the IFP’s position.
“Whilst there may be calls from outside organisations that Parliament should act, I think it’s up to us as Parliament to really act now. And that is something that the IFP is going to be asking that we do. We’ll note the pressure that comes from outside. We know this is of public concern now, but ultimately Parliament will have to decide and we appreciate the fact that many organisations are writing to Parliament. But I think that Parliament is not obliged to act on whatever comes from any organisation, but take note of the issues that they raise.”