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

The high court in Pretoria will once again be the news focus this week, as the battle rages on between President Cyril Ramaphosa and public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. 

The court last week heard Ramaphosa’s application to stay the application of the remedial action ordered by Mkhwebane against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan as it related to the early pension payout of former deputy commissioner of the SA Revenue Service, Ivan Pillay. 

Ramaphosa has not implemented the remedial action, as Gordhan has taken the report on judicial review. This has not yet taken place. A series of letters on Ramaphosa’s decision to not implement the remedial action between him and the public protector, culminated in last week’s application. 

Mkhwebane had accused Ramaphosa of failing to uphold the constitution by not implementing her remedial action against Gordhan after she found he had granted an “unlawful early retirement” to Pillay. 

Judgment in the case has been reserved and judge Lettie Molopa-Sethosa hinted she could hand down her judgment on Thursday.

This will be the third week in a row in which the public protector faces a court judgment, after the Constitutional Court two weeks ago ordered her to pay costs out of her own pocket in review of the report on the apartheid-era bailout of Bankorp by the SA Reserve Bank. 

This was followed by the granting of an urgent interdict by the high court in which the remedial action in another report related to Gordhan was interdicted pending the review application.

It is expected that Pretoria will again be functioning after it was brought to a standstill last week by the SA Municipal Workers Union as a result of a wage increase dispute, which was resolved on Friday. 

The city agreed on once-off payments to the striking workers, while the 64 managers who received the 18% increases that led to the unprotected strike will have to pay back the money. 

The DA’s James Selfe is said to be making his way to Tshwane, after a week of chaos, to meet mayor Stevens Mokgalapa.

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped SABC will on Monday release a report by the commission of inquiry into editorial interference at the SABC. Veteran journalist Joe Thloloe, who chaired the commission, will present the report.

The commission of inquiry was established in response to various reports of editorial interference over the years.

Eight journalists were suspended by the SABC in 2016 after they voiced their concern about editorial policies including the policy of refusing to air protest footage.

Political parties are also expected to have a strong focus on Women’s Day, which will be celebrated on Friday. 

The public holiday celebrates the mass march to the Union Buildings on August 9 1956, when 20,000 women marched and presented a petition against the carrying of passes by women. 

Parliament is in recess.

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