Oakbay offices in Sandton. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS
Oakbay offices in Sandton. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS

The Gupta-linked Oakbay says underprivileged university students in SA will be the beneficiaries of legal costs due to be paid to it by the Treasury, after a case brought by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was dismissed on Friday.

The company said: "We have said all along that this application by the former finance minister was a waste of valuable court time‚ especially as it was brought at the taxpayers’ expense. We have faith in SA’s judiciary and are grateful for the independence it has exhibited today….

"In particular‚ we note the court’s comment that ‘it is not appropriate for a member of the national executive to draw the judiciary into the exercise of his executive functions as evinced in this application’.

"The full costs awarded to us will be used for a new project we are developing concerning the funding of underprivileged university students in SA.

"We reiterate — yet again — that we welcome a judicial commission of inquiry following the former public protector’s report into so-called state capture."

BusinessLIVE reported earlier on Friday that the High Court in Pretoria had dismissed an application lodged by Gordhan‚ seeking a declaratory order that the finance minister could not intervene in the relationship between the banks and Oakbay.

However, Gordhan may still have got what he wanted as the court confirmed that there was no law compelling him to intervene in the relationship between a bank and a client.

Gordhan had approached the court in 2016 for a declaratory order stating that he could not intervene‚ after being pressured to do so by the Cabinet and Oakbay. At the time his move was widely interpreted as an attempt to put an end to the lobbying and shine a light on the Guptas’ financial affairs.

The high court said the application was unnecessary as there was no legislation which allowed a minister to interfere in the relationship between a bank and its client.

A full bench of the high court said in the judgment that it was the duty of the minister‚ as a member of the national executive‚ to obey‚ respect and uphold the law.

"To grant the minister the declaratory relief would allow the judiciary to stray into the exercise of executive functions where the circumstances do not warrant its involvement‚" the court said.

On Friday afternoon‚ Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he would not appeal the High Court ruling.

This meant Treasury would pay the costs of the legal action‚ because the application was brought by Gordhan in his capacity as finance minister.

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