Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: AFP
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: AFP

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is opposing minister Pravin Gordhan’s application to interdict the implementation of the remedial action in her SA Revenue Service (Sars) report because he insulted her.

Advocate Thabani Masuku, acting for Mkhwebane, told the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday that ordinarily the public protector would not oppose such an application but she was now “being forced to oppose” it based on the unfounded allegations Gordhan made against her in court papers.

“Let me make it clear, the public protector would ordinarily allow this interdict to go through, she has allowed it before.... The reasons she has not done this in this case is because the applicant has essentially insulted the public protector,” he said.

Masuku was referring to allegations made by Gordhan in his affidavit.

The court is hearing the first part of Gordhan’s application: to suspend the implementation of the remedial action contained in the report pending a judicial review of the entire report.

Masuku said Gordhan accused Mkhwebane of abusing her constitutional powers, and promoting and supporting corruption and state capture, as well as pursuing corrupt political interests to remove him.

Masuku said Gordhan made these allegations without any evidence.

He has asked the court to strike the comments out. Masuku said as a member of the executive, Gordhan had a constitutional duty to uphold and protect the public protector’s dignity, which he had not done.

He said the allegations made against the public protector were damaging.

Masuku said the public protector can be successful only when she has the support of all organs of state, as set out in the constitution. 

The hearing continues.