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Mkhwebane not fit for office – BLSA

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Photo by Reuters

28th May 2019

By: Sashnee Moodley

Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia

     

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Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) said on Tuesday that it had lost trust in Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and called for her removal, citing her continued lack of objectivity and "egregious character" as problems.

BLSA further accused Mkhwebane of politicking and said her “political shenanigans” were on display.

Last week, she found Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan guilty of "improper conduct" over his approval of then-South African Revenue Services deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay's early retirement and pay-out.

Lawyers for Gordhan have filed a review application asking the North Gauteng High Court to set aside the report by Mkhwebane that found he flouted the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria found Mkhwebane’s report on the Estina dairy farm project to be unconstitutional and set it aside on the grounds that she failed in her duties to investigate and report on the controversial project.

BLSA lends its support of Mkhwebane’s removal to an upsurge of dissatisfaction this past week from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, all of whom are calling for her to step down as Public Protector.

On Tuesday, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation CEO Neeshan Balton said Mkhwebane was acting in a manner that came across as being "irrational" and "driven by an agenda that is clearly not about protecting the interests of the public".

Both Outa and the DA have approached Parliament to remove Mkhwebane.

“It appears that Advocate Mkhwebane is using this important Chapter 9 institution as a cover for what amounts to subterfuge, in a high-stakes game of State capture. Accordingly, BLSA believes Advocate Mkhwebane is not fit to hold office as Public Protector. It is now time for the parliamentary process to commence, without delay, pursuant to her removal from the vitally important constitutionally created institution,” said BLSA in a statement.

BLSA also called for Parliament to begin the process of removing Mkhwebane from office and warned that the country could move further into “institutional failure and chaos” with Mkhwebane at the helm in the Public Protectors office.

It added that Mkhwebane was not capable of safeguarding the Public Protector’s office from abuse and said she was a clear and present danger to South Africa’s democracy.

“We are of the view that Advocate Mkhwebane can never be entrusted to safeguard our democracy and the mammoth task of protecting the public, the people of South Africa, from abuse. The Office of the Public Protector is too important to be captured by a person of questionable repute. It is certainly too important to be compromised by the ruinous factionalism that has torn our country apart over the past decade,” said the BLSA.

Edited by David Shepherd
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