Radebe vs Gordhan fight to head to Concourt

Radebe accused Gordhan of racism because he was fired but a “white woman” was retained. (Reuters and Twitter)

Radebe accused Gordhan of racism because he was fired but a “white woman” was retained. (Reuters and Twitter)

The fight between former Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and former Transnet board member Seth Radebe will be heading to the Constitutional Court if Radebe’s lawyers get their way.

This comes after the Pretoria high court dismissed Radebe’s application, which had sought to set aside Gordhan’s decision to remove him from the Transnet board.

Radebe accused Gordhan of racism because he was fired but a “white woman” was retained, though they were hired at the same time and sat on the same committee.

READ MORE: Gordhan to defend Transnet cleanup

On Tuesday Judge Hans Fabricius rejected Radebe’s application describing it as “rather vague”.

But Radebe’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza said that his client totally disagrees with Judge Fabricus’ judgment.

Judge Fabricius said that he could not find that Gordhan’s decision to remove Radebe was racially motivated or “could even be regarded as racial discrimination, seen either subjectively or objectively.

“In my view, the Minister [Gordhan] took the relevant facts into account and made a rational decision based thereon. He kept in mind the parlous position of the South African economy, and the role Transnet had to play therein,” Judge Fabricius ruled.

In argument to the court, Gordhan’s counsel, Nazeer Cassim SC, said Radebe, as the former chairperson of the audit committee, should have but did not take action after being given a Werksmans Attorneys report that showed widespread corruption at the state-owned entity.

Radebe and the previous board failed to institute disciplinary action against employees implicated in irregular tenders, nor did it suspend them pending investigations – giving them an opportunity to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses, said Cassim.

But Mabuza said Radebe feels that the ruling was “completely and clearly wrong” and was based on an erroneous interpretation of the Constitution, especially principles dealing with legality and discrimination.

“Discrimination must be tested subjectively from the point of view of what impact it had on the victim.
As a result, Mr Radebe has given us firm instructions to appeal against the judgment as he believes that a higher court will come to a different conclusion altogether. The appeal will be lodged directly to the Constitutional Court due to the importance of the issues and the need for finality,” Mabuza said.

Public enterprises spokesperson Adrian Lackay welcomed the judgment “in particular the emphasis it places on the need to urgently restore good corporate governance at state-owned companies like Transnet, given their position and role in the South African economy.”

Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba is a multi award-winning journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, governance and everything that isn’t on social media. She is an author, an avid reader and trying to find the answer to the perfect balance between investigative journalism, online audiences and the decline in newspaper sales. It’s a rough world and a rewarding profession. Read more from Athandiwe Saba

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