President Cyril Ramaphosa is unlikely to challenge Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s adverse findings on Pravin Gordhan.
Mkhwebane has asked Ramaphosa to take action against Gordhan for illegally approving the retirement of former SA Revenue Service (Sars) official Ivan Pillay, something his legal team claimed was not unlawful.
Political analyst Shadrack Gutto said, as Ramaphosa wanted to run a lean and clean administration, he would avoid appointing Gordhan in defiance of Mkhwebane and rather wait to see that matter being resolved.
“I don’t think that a constitutional crisis will happen at all. First, Gordhan is no longer a minister … just an MP [member of parliament]. Secondly, I don’t understand why people believed the president must appoint him as if he is a know-all person when there are so many other competent members he could choose from,” he said.
“This matter is not a crisis at all, although the findings of the public protector are binding, I don’t think it will affect the president’s determination to have a trimmed down executive,” Gutto said.
Besides, Gordhan could challenge Mkhwebane’s report in a court of law. His lawyers had already indicated their intention to take the matter on judicial review, saying the protector’s report has no basis because the issue was investigated by various bodies that found no wrongdoing by Gordhan.
According to Gutto, Ramaphosa may choose to reprimand Gordhan and carry on with appointing his Cabinet if he wanted to include him. But if he chose not to implement Mkhwebane’s findings, he would have to do something that would portray him as not undermining her authority.
“He would not like to be seen as defying Mkhwebane by appointing Gordhan without considering her report. The president wouldn’t like to appoint someone whose ethical status is questionable, the ball is in Gordhan’s court to clear his name,” Gutto said.