Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s highly anticipated testimony before the commission of inquiry into state capture will not happen this week as scheduled, as he has been granted postponement.
Deputy Chief Justice Zondo — the chair of the commission — announced on Tuesday that Gordhan had last week requested to have his testimony moved from Thursday this week to Monday next week.
Gordhan’s long-awaited testimony garnered widespread attention, especially after his statement to the commission was leaked and published in the media. Gordhan decried the circulation of his statement and Zondo reprimanded the media for this in a statement released last Thursday.
Zondo said he granted Gordhan’s application to have his testimony postponed last Friday.
Last week, it was announced that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane would be investigating Gordhan regarding allegations that he — in his capacity as South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner — unfairly approved former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement package and his re-employment in 2010.
But Mkhwebane’s investigation has come under scrutiny after her office subpoenaed Gordhan to appear before the public protector at the same time he was due to appear at the Zondo commission.
Lawyers for the minister, in a statement on Saturday, said that Mkhwebane was involved in a preliminary investigation into allegations that were similar to those that Gordhan faced in 2016 when he was the subject of a criminal investigation by the Hawks. The charges against Gordhan were withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority on October 31 2016.
This is not the first time that Gordhan’s testimony has been postponed.
Gordhan was scheduled to appear before the commission in October. But his testimony was pushed forward by almost a month after the commission’s legal team applied for its postponement.
The legal team’s advocate Thandi Norman told Zondo the late submission of Gordhan’s full statement meant that there had not been enough time to review his evidence.