“A complete lack of understanding on her part of the limits of her powers. She displayed a clear failure to understand prosecutorial conduct”
WHILE the courts have made no pronouncement on it, by now it should be clear to all that despite her title, the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has very little interest in protecting the public against the abuses of state power.
Her record in office has been dismal. Instead, she has confused her role with that of an active political player.
This helps explain some of her questionable findings which when taken under judicial review have exposed her shortcomings, and dare we say incompetence.
The Constitutional Court found that Mkhwebane had acted in bad faith and was dishonest during her investigation into the Absa-Bankorp lifeboat from the Reserve Bank.
Yesterday’s ruling in the High Court in Pretoria on the CR17 campaign funding debacle was a case in point.
Ramaphosa sought to review Mkhwebane’s findings that he had misled Parliament over a R500000 donation from the scandal-plagued former Bosasa boss Gavin Watson to his CR17 campaign to succeed Jacob Zuma as ANC president.
Mkhwebane also found that there was evidence of money laundering, and ordered that the National Prosecuting Authority should investigate her findings.
She also ordered Parliament’s ethics committee to investigate whether Ramaphosa had violated the executive ethics code over his failure to declare donations made to his CR17 campaign.
Judge Dunstan Mlambo slammed Mkhwebane, saying she had no powers to direct the NPA. The judges also found that Mkhwebane’s instruction undermined the essence of prosecutorial independence of the NPA.
“A complete lack of understanding on her part of the limits of her powers. She displayed a clear failure to understand prosecutorial conduct,” Judge Mlambo said.
Make no mistake, the ANC campaign for political office is no different from political campaigns around the world in which money is a powerful tool to sway hearts and minds.
Left with a hefty legal bill, Mkhwebane will look to the Constitutional Court for her next battle where she is challenging the same Pretoria High Court’s ruling on the Sars “rogue unit”.
Throughout all the drama swirling around her, Mkhwebane has been defiant, but a parliamentary process to remove her could be her final undoing.