Battle Lines are Drawn Between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, at loggerheads with the Public Protector.

Following the release of the public protector’s report that President Cyril Ramaphosa has deliberately misled parliament in connection with a donation of R500 000.00 by Bosasa to his campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017 and that there is evidence of money laundering against him, President Ramaphosa has decided to refer the report on judicial review. The Public Protector says that she has referred the money laundering issue to the National Prosecuting Authority-the NPA, for further investigation. By releasing this report, the Public Protector has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons. There are a whole lot of consequences that will arise from her report that will impact on the programmes that the President has embarked on. The timing of the release of the report, when former President Jacob Zuma was testifying before the Zondo Commission, and while he was at pains to withdraw from giving any further evidence under cross-examination, only serves to strengthen the arguments that the Public Protector has taken sides in the divisions within the ANC and that her actions are designed to strengthen the Zuma faction against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane

If you consider the PP’s report on the Estina Dairy Project, which is also under the spotlight at the Commission on State Capture, and the ruling made by the Court in that regard, then questions should be legitimately asked whether the PP has any desire to assist South Africans in the fight against corruption, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. If questions are placed upon the President’s integrity, then his capacity to fight corruption will be undermined. Add to that the PP’s report and recommendations relating to Minister Pravin Gordhan, also another anti-corruption campaigner, on whom the PP has also cast suspicions. All these reports and their timing, only serve to weaken the fight against corruption and to dash away the hopes of millions of South Africans who are really struggling to make ends meet as a result of the plundering of state resources. It is understandable that the Public Protector did not start to investigate these matters out of the blue, but that she did so following complaints lodged by certain individuals, but it is the timing of the release of these reports, and the enthusiasm with which she is pursuing cases against the current President and his supporters, that gives the impression that those who benefited from the corruption of the past are desperately fighting back with serious disregard for the economy and the country.

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa, Johannesburg

The Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, has dismissed the Public Protector’s appeal against a cost order granted by the High Court in Pretoria, that the Public Protector, in her personal capacity, pays 15% of the legal costs incurred in a matter involving ABSA Bank and the Reserve Bank, in which she had found that ABSA was liable to pay back an amount of R1.125bn bail out provided by the Reserve Bank to Bankorp between 1985 and 1992. All these decisions are a bad reflection on the Public Protector in that she appears to be making wrong decisions on a frequent basis. The impact of her decisions on those who are affected is tremendous. It is not clear as to what could be prompting the Public Protector to make these hasty decisions. The SACP has accused her of being a hired gun, a charge which she has denied. It may also be speculated that, perhaps there are powerful individuals in her office, who are churning out these reports and misleading the Public Protector. Why would the Public Protector be prepared to damage her reputation? Who is pressurising her to make these reports which all seem to be designed to protect those who are accused as being the masterminds and active participants in the State capture projects?

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