Gordhan presses ahead with Gupta companies court bid
Ernest Mabuza | 2017-03-28 16:47:05.0
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. File photo.
Image by: Ruvan Boshoff
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday asked the high court in Pretoria to declare he did not have power to intervene in the dispute between banks and Gupta-controlled companies.
This was despite the court giving the parties a chance on Tuesday afternoon to discuss a settlement.
“I suppose it is not too late for this court to say the parties may still try to settle this matter‚” Gauteng High Court Judge President Mlambo said before lunch.
Jeremy Gauntlett SC‚ for Gordhan‚ said after the lunch adjournment that parties could not reach a settlement.
Gordhan went to court last October for an order declaring that he cannot‚ by law‚ intervene in the relationship between the Gupta-controlled companies and banks which closed their accounts last year.
He made this application after the Oakbay companies entreated him to intervene following the closure of a number of Oakbay group accounts by South African banks earlier last year.
Gauntlett said for Gordhan to obtain a declaratory order that he seeks‚ a number of aspects were important.
“There need not be a dispute. Secondly‚ there need not even be an opponent.”
Gauntlett also said the issues raised in the application must not be abstract or purely intellectual.
“The reason why courts are in favour of this remedy is because it is essentially gentler law. It establishes rights.”
Gauntlett said the minister was being badgered to intervene.
“He did not.”
Gauntlett said the court would not make orders in circumstances which were wholly academic‚ because the order Gordhan sought would address the issue of lobbying by the Oakbay companies.
“You do not need a dispute‚ you do not need an opponent but you do need parties on whom (the order) will be binding and you would need the issue not to be abstract or hypothetical‚” Gauntlett said.
The application continues on Wednesday.
‘I am still the Finance Minister‚’ says Pravin Gordhan
– TMG Digital