Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has dropped her urgent Constitutional Court bid to force President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against minister Pravin Gordhan over the so-called SA Revenue Service (Sars) rogue unit.

Mkhwebane’s office on Thursday confirmed that she had withdrawn bid to appeal a high court interdict staying her order that Ramaphosa take “appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan over his involvement with the unit, which she maintains was unlawfully established, pending Gordhan’s review of that report.

Mkhwebane had argued that the ruling was devastating to the functioning of her office, and required urgent attention by SA’s highest court.

Her spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, confirmed that she had withdrawn that appeal application but not comment any further about her reasons for doing so.

“She is not at liberty to talk about the reasons or the way forward. She took advice from her legal team, leading to that decision,” he said.

In her Sars report, Mkhwebane found that an investigating unit of the tax agency established in 2007 — and later referred to in media reports as the “rogue unit” — was unlawfully formed and had conducted illegal intelligence-gathering operations.

She ordered Ramaphosa to take action against Gordhan, over his alleged role in the establishment of that unit, within 30 days and also ordered the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate possible violations of the constitution and intelligence legislation.