JOHANNESBURG – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made damning findings against him for his role in the establishment of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) so-called “rogue” unit.
Through a statement on Friday, the party – which lodged the complaint against Gordhan with the Chapter 9 institution – welcomed the remedial action directed to Ramaphosa, Parliament, and the police by Mkhwebane. The red berets said should Ramaphosa not implement Mkhwebane’s binding remedial action, they would approach the courts.
Mkhwebane ordered the president to “take appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan within 30 days. She also wants the minister to face an ethics investigation in Parliament, including the completion of a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecution into the intelligence unit.
“The public protector has confirmed our long-held view that … Gordhan illegally engaged in espionage through a rogue unit within Sars,” the EFF’s national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was quoted in the statement.
“This unit spied on prominent people in South Africa, including the NPA. We believe that this illegally gathered information would then be used to pursue and settle political scores, through Sars itself, and other means. The country indeed needs an efficient revenue collector with teeth that bite, however, for Gordhan to constitute a rogue unit outside the guidance of legally designated and established institutions, is dangerous,” he added.
Gordhan was the Sars commissioner in 2007 when the intelligence unit was set up. He has always maintained that the unit was above board, and that it had ministerial approval from then-finance minister, Trevor Manuel.
The EFF also expressed concern at the “complicity” of Manuel, saying “it is improbable that he did not know of the existence of such a unit”.