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Stalingrad on stilts: ConCourt dismisses suspended Busi...

South Africa

AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Stalingrad on stilts: ConCourt dismisses suspended Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s application in Ivan Pillay pension saga 

From left: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town International Convention Centre. on 5 September 2019. (Photo:Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Esa Alexander) | Ivan Pillay during an appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on 9 April 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier) | Busisiwe Mkhebane at her office in Pretoria on 14 June 2019. (Photo: Gallo Images / Tebogo Letsie)

In a year of defeats, the Constitutional Court on Wednesday delivered yet another blow to suspended Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, dismissing her leave to appeal a Gauteng High Court judgment regarding former South African Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s pension package.

On Wednesday, Justices Jody Kollapen, Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Steven Majiedt, Rammaka Mathopo, Nonkosi Mhlantla, Dunstan Mlambo, Leona Theron and Zukisa Tshiqi dismissed, with costs, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s application as it bore “no reasonable prospects of success”.

In September 2021, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Mkhwebane’s  application appealing the setting aside of her 2019 report into South African Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s pension package.

The defeat this week comes in the heat of a rejection by President Cyril Ramaphosa of an ultimatum by Mkhwebane to have her suspension reversed. 

Mkhwebane, who was suspended by the president on 9 June, wrote to his office this week claiming that her suspension was “irrational” and “illegal”. The president replied that he would “see her in court”.

The Public Protector’s office is investigating the break-in and theft of a disputed amount of foreign currency at Ramaphosa’s game farm in Limpopo in 2020. The complaint was lodged by African Transformation Movement president, Vuyo Zungula.

In 2020, the court ruled that Mkhwebane’s findings that Pravin Gordhan acted unlawfully, had been irrational, as had been her recommendations.

The court said Mkhwebane had made a material error of law when she concluded that Gordhan’s approval in 2010 – while minister of finance – of Pillay’s pension package had been improper.

The PP had recommended that the president take disciplinary action against Gordhan. Advocate Dali Mpofu represented Mkhwebane.

However, evidence presented during the drawn-out saga proved that Gordhan had acted on legal advice and that the practice of re-employing retirees on contract is common in the public service. 

The Public Protector’s Office has spent R52-million defending her reports in court and R14.9 million warding off her impeachment inquiry process. DM

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All Comments 9

  • The question that needs asking is why are the RET squad treated with kids gloves,we have the laws.Do we still have the cohesion as a country to respect the rule of law and accept arrests of known perpetrators or do we cosset the snakes in our bosom, who trampled the constitution into near oblivion for a few dollars!!!

    • In a similar vein to my observation about Dali, how is it that the incumbent (was!) PP, in light of the numerous damning court findings against her, about her fitness to even practise law, still regarded as one ? Says a lot about the so-called ‘professional’ organisations that are supposed to protect the integrity of the profession, and why so much malfeasance reigns !

  • What is Advocate Dali’s success record in court? 0 for 80? He probably gets paid either way, though somebody should have a look at the source of funds trail on those fee transfers.

    • One needs to remember that this is the same individual who many years ago ‘filched’ several millions from the SABC as head of its board ! He has discovered that he is onto another ‘good thing’ … when he defends the indefensible. If ever there was a need for a ‘professional’ organisation (with teeth) to investigate and make findings against members who bring its reputation into disrepute – this would be one example of it. Absolute disgrace !

  • It is becoming urgent that the parliament is starting the impeachment process against the PP. Not only does she appear incompetent and malicious, she is also wasting tax payers money.

  • And just about every political party supported the application of Mkhwebane to the position of Public protector! Not only is Advocate Dali a loser, but those political parties who supported her application are also losers!

  • When you are using OPM as your finance strategy for your court challenges, what is there to loose?
    (OPM=Other People’s money i.e. tax payers funds)
    If the applications are frivolous, make her pay, grab her pension! That tends to “sharpen the legal mind”
    R66.9m spent in legal fights-what a disgrace! How many houses would that have provided? Or working toilets or schools?
    Shame on them! Vote!!

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