Gordhan’s opponents pounce in the wake of Public Protector’s pension payout report

Former Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s detractors have pounced on the Public Protector’s report on a pension payout made to former South African Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, lodging a complaint with the ANC’s integrity commission in another bid to have him excluded from the Cabinet.

The Mail & Guardian understands that President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to announce his Cabinet on Wednesday, after the postponed swearing-in of ANC deputy president David Mabuza took place on Tuesday.

Political commentator and ANC member Phapano Phasha, who was associated with Gupta-aligned television station ANN7 and had laid charges against former acting Sars commissioner Mark Kingon, laid a complaint against Gordhan in a letter to integrity commission chairman George Mashamba.

She asked that Gordhan step aside from all positions in the state until his name has been cleared.

This comes as Gordhan lodged court papers on Tuesday to review Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s findings.

READ MORE: Gordhan: Mkhwebane’s report ‘politically motivated and riddled with errors’

Gordhan’s critics have been lobbying hard to prevent his appointment to the Cabinet, particularly after the release of the Mkhwebane’s report into the pension payout to Pillay.

Mkhwebane released her report on Friday, which found that Gordhan had acted improperly when he signed off on Pillay’s early retirement. The SARS commissioner at the time was Oupa Magashule. She has directed Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan for violating the Constitution.

Phasha says she is a member of the Johannesburg branch of the ANC. She cites the public protector and calls on the integrity commission to flag Gordhan as a “risk” to the ANC’s public standing.

“… When allegations by some opposition parties were made about President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Bosasa debacle, the president led by example by showing maximum respect and high discipline to the office of the public protector allowing it to execute its duties with no fear or favour and to this day we are yet to hear of any interference. Is comrade Pravin Gordhan beyond reproach and more powerful than the ANC president?” Phasha asks in the statement.

Mkhwebane continues her investigation into the Bosasa payment to Ramaphosa’s election campaign as party president, which he had indicated he would pay back to the controversial services company which allegedly bribed officials to obtain state contracts. 

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