South African President Cyril Ramaphosa won a court case against the anti-corruption watchdog yesterday over a matter concerning ally Pravin Gordhan, ahead of a fresh battle over findings against the president himself.
A high court judge found that Ramaphosa had acted reasonably in not immediately disciplining Gordhan, the public enterprises minister, over a decision regarding the retirement of a tax official in 2010. Yesterday’s ruling was the third high-profile court defeat for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in as many weeks, potentially undermining the credibility of her investigations, including one into Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa secured an “interdict” from the court, meaning he does not have to implement disciplinary action against Gordhan while Gordhan appeals against the finding by Mkhwebane.
By targeting Ramaphosa and Gordhan, the president’s supporters say, Mkhwebane is acting as a proxy for a faction in the ruling African National Congress party that is aligned with former president Jacob Zuma and opposes Ramaphosa’s agenda.
Mkhwebane denies playing politics, saying she is simply holding senior officials to account.