The Ministry of Finance and National Treasury will be seeking to set aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the termination of anti-apartheid activist Mzunani Sonto’s Special Pension in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) on 28 June.

GroundUp reports that earlier this month the Public Protector had ordered that the Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana should apologise to Sonto and set up a judicial review of the Appeal Board’s decision to terminate his pension.

Special Pensions are administered by the Government Pensions Administration Agency.

In an affidavit deposed by DG Dondo Mogajane, the National Treasury is asking the court to suspend the remedial action and monitoring provisions in the Public Protector’s report.

Treasury says that the Public Protector has overstepped her authority.

Mogajane does not seem to deny that the Appeal Board may have been mistaken in its consideration of Sonto’s appeal, which was lodged well outside of the statutory 60-day period of appeal.

Instead, he argues that while the Appeal Board may have acted under a mistaken belief in the extent of its powers, ‘such action does not amount to improper conduct or maladministration’.

As such, the remedial action that seeks to hold the Minister accountable for the Appeal Board’s decision is ‘misplaced and irregular’.

He says that the power to review a decision of the Appeal Board is held by a court of review only.

Mogajane also argues that if the Minister is made to implement the Public Protector’s remedial action, this will be enforcing ‘an irrational and unreasonable decision’.

Public Protector’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said that they received a copy of the Minister’s application last week.

‘The institution is studying the application and a decision will be taken in due course,’ he said.

Full GroundUp report