Gordhan's meeting with Mkhwebane was a 'good interaction' - lawyer

Lawyers representing Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan have described his appearance before Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Wednesday as a "good interaction", saying they await the outcome of how the investigation would proceed.

"It was a good interaction. The Public Protector and her team solicited the facts and the minister gave the facts related to the complaint," said Gordhan’s attorney Tebogo Malatji.

He said the meeting lasted two hours. "This is still a preliminary investigation, so we would wait to hear from the Public Protector what would be the next step."

Gordhan was subpoenaed to answer questions relating to his approval of early retirement of the former deputy commissioner of the SA Revenue Service, Ivan Pillay, in 2010.

According to Mkhwebane, Gordhan was subpoenaed to appear before her in person to respond to allegations that he irregularly approved Pillay’s retirement, "bought off his pension balance and later allowed him to be re-employed by SARS in 2010". Gordhan was minister of finance at the time. 

Gordhan's lawyers, in a statement sent to the media on Saturday, said the complaint against the minister was lodged with the Public Protector in late 2016 shortly after the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew charges against him. They said the allegations concerned claims of  "maladministration, dishonest and improper conduct by the minister in dealing with public funds".

Gordhan has repeatedly denied he did anything wrong.

Earlier, Malatji Tweeted:

Gordhan will next Monday give evidence before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. His appearance at the inquiry was initially set for Thursday, but has been delayed due to the subpoena.

* Correction: A previous version of this article stated that according to the Public Protector, Gorhan’s approval of Pillay's early retirement amounted to "maladministration, dishonest and improper conduct by the minister in dealing with public funds. This is incorrect. The quote should have been attributed to Gordhan's lawyers, speaking of the content of the complaint lodged with the Public Protector in late 2016, and not the Public Protector herself, who has made no findings as yet. Fin24 apologises for the error. 

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