Gordhan asks court to set aside public protector's report on early pension payout at Sars

Kgothatso Madisa

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has asked the court to set aside the public protector’s report which found he had acted improperly in approving former Sars senior official Ivan Pillay’s early pension payout.

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended President Cyril Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against Gordhan for “violating the constitution” by using public funds to “irregularly” approve Pillay’s early retirement.

A complaint was lodged with the public protector's office in November 2016, alleging that Gordhan and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule had acted dishonestly with regard to public funds, which had resulted in Pillay receiving an improper advantage or being unjustifiably enriched at the expense of the taxpayer.

Mkhwebane said Pillay was not entitled to an early retirement payout.

In his court papers filed at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Gordhan wants the report to be reviewed, set aside and declared unconstitutional and irrational as she had failed to comply with her duties.

He argues that Mkhwebane’s discretion in deciding to investigate the complaint – which was lodged with her office in 2016 – was “improperly exercised” and must be reviewed and set aside.

Gordhan, however, does not indicate whether he believes Pillay was actually entitled to the early payout except for that Mkhwebane failed to comply with her duties as per section 182 of the constitution.

Gordhan also wants Mkhwebane to personally bear some of the costs.

He says that Mkhwebane’s office must “show cause why the above-mentioned decision must not be reviewed and set aside”.

  • - Additional reporting by Genevieve Quintal

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