Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane confirmed today that she was investigating Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, a close ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa, for allegedly abusing his powers during his time as finance minister.
Gordhan is accused of wrongly approving an early retirement package for a senior tax official at the South African Revenue Service in 2010, Ivan Pillay, before allowing him to be re-employed at the agency on a contract basis.
Gordhan has said in the past that the early retirement of Pillay was entirely above board.
The Public Protector, an organisation mandated by the constitution to uphold standards in public office, said the investigation had started in 2016 but had now reached a stage where it was ready to conduct interviews.
Gordhan has warned of a “determined and vigorous fightback” campaign from those opposed to efforts to implement clean governance at state entities.
In his submission to the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, Gordhan said there were still people who wanted the status quo of pillaging, looting and impunity to remain.
He also accused Mkhwebane of abusing her powers to intimidate and harass him after he was summonsed to appear before of her.
Gordhan, who was fired by then president Jacob Zuma as finance minister in March 2017 and replaced by Minister Malusi Gigaba, is widely considered to have been at the forefront of government resistance to state capture.
In his sworn statement to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who is leading the state capture inquiry, he details events including his contact with the Guptas, the nuclear deal, the dismissal of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and his own dismissal from the same position.