Magashula follows Gordhan regarding Pillay case
08:42 Sun, 26 May 2019
Magashula follows Gordhan regarding Pillay case | News Article
Oupa Magashula (PHOTO: ANA)
Former South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Oupa Magashula has followed Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in instructing lawyers to take on review Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings.

This is regarding the retirement and re-employment of former colleague Ivan Pillay 10 years ago.

His lawyers said in a statement they had been briefed to launch review proceedings in the high court immediately. Magashula objected in particular to the fact that Mkhwebane issued her adverse findings within four days of him responding to her provisional report, the law firm Savage, Jooste & Adams said.

"The indecent haste with which the public protector then made public her findings on the 24th of May 2019 is in our client’s view an indication of the fact that little and/or no regard was had to the evidence and supplementary submissions. Her findings, in our view, arise from the erroneous application of the facts and an erroneous understanding of the law."

On Friday night, Gordhan signalled that he would immediately launch a review process after Mkhwebane found that he was guilty of maladministration for approving Pillay's early retirement with full benefits and his subsequent re-employment on a fixed-term contract. He was finance minister at the time.

Mkhwebane directed President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan and for the funds paid out be recovered. The minister, Magashula, and Pillay all insist that the approval of early retirement was legal.

Meanwhile, Freedom Under Law CEO Nicole Fritz says the organisation is dismayed but not surprised to learn of Mkhwebane's findings. 

She says in a statement that the matters canvassed in the Public Protector’s report are the exact same matters as those which frame one of the most notorious episodes in the National Prosecuting Authority’s history – the decision to charge and then ultimately ignominiously withdraw charges against Gordhan, Pillay and former SARS Commissioner, Magashula. 

Fritz adds that what she describes as an attempt to 'reheat a long cold dish and serve it up to the public as evidence of wrongdoing' is on its own alarming. But that the Public Protector releases her report a mere two days after receiving responses from the implicated parties – failing to meaningfully engage those responses – makes a mockery of the most basic tenets of justice.

African News Agency (ANA)

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