PRETORIA – The High Court has ruled that the clarity being sought by President Cyril Ramaphosa in relation to his powers to discipline a minister will in fact assist and guide the Public Protector if she ever investigates another minister in the future.
This was among the findings handed down by Judge Sulet Potterill when she suspended the enforcement of the remedial action in the report related to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) investigation unit.
Gordhan sought the interdict pending the full judicial review of the report.
Ramaphosa supported the application because he wanted clarity on what disciplinary powers the Constitution allows a president to exercise over a minister.
Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane told the High Court that the president’s approach to this litigation threatened to undermine the office of the Public Protector but Judge Potterill described this as far fetched.
“The fact that the president is abiding the decision also raises an issue to be decided in the review application pertaining to what disciplinary steps the president can take against a minister is a valid point and will, in fact, serve as guidance to the PP if and when another minister is the subject of a PP report.”
While the Public Protector said she was disappointed by the court’s decision, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it planned to appeal the ruling at the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile, the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly said it would abide by the court’s ruling and not initiate steps against Minister Pravin Gordhan.