Date: 04 August 2019 Read: 26019
Since the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, took over from Adv Thuli Madonsela, there have been attempts to drag the office of the Public Protector into the political games.
The Public Protector's office was established as a Chapter 9 institution and is supposed to be independent and impartial, but political leaders abuse it to push their own agendas. Mkhwebane’s conduct is a serious matter and she is damaging the image of the office as she has become a political pawn which was proved by the EFF’s efforts to defend her. It looks like Mkhwebane doesn’t understand her role as a public protector. She needs to protect the public, but I was shocked when she said she is not a public servant. Whose interests is she serving? The public's or politicians'?
Her findings and timing are questionable. Releasing a report against Minister Pravin Gordhan just a few hours before the president delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) made me suspect she was planning to sabotage Ramaphosa. In her defense, she said her office is entitled to release reports at any time. She is arrogant and has no respect for the people of South Africa. In the report she recommended implementation of remedial action against Gordhan within 30 days of the release of report.
Mkhwebane found President Cyril Ramaphosa violated the executive code of ethics by not declaring donations to his presidential campaign in 2017. She said he deliberately misled the parliament when he said he knows nothing about money he received from Bosasa. However, president Ramaphosa said he would seek an urgent judicial review. We currently don’t have any law that binds political parties and presidential candidates to disclose their donations, therefore Ramaphosa needs to be treated the same. If Ramaphosa wrongfully benefited from donations, the party could have dealt with him accordingly. She is supposed to make recommendations and move on to other cases. Enforcing remedial actions reveals she is biased and politically influenced. The president requires ample time to review reports before taking disciplinary actions.
The Constitutional Court ruled against Mkhwebane over the Bankorp matter and ordered her to pay R900 000 for legal costs. Pravin has also won an interdict preventing the PP’s orders against him from being implemented while he takes her report on review. Ramaphosa also filed an application backing Gordhan. The ruling was yet another blow for Mkhwebane and the office of the Public Protector.
Some organizations and political leaders have begun calling for Mkhwebane’s resignation because she is unfit for the position. However, she said she won’t leave the office because she was placed there by God. “I was placed in this position by the God…..and I believe that only He can remove me…”
- Tshidino Ndou, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila
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