Editorial: PP just can’t get it right

2018-06-17 06:09

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Yet another week, yet another controversy around Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane. As a bonus, there were two this week.

When Mkhwebane took over from Thuli Madonsela in 2016, she immediately plunged herself into heated debates.

Almost everyone who had endorsed her surprise nomination – when she was not even a dark horse – soon expressed regret for being fooled by her flawless performance in the parliamentary interviews.

Since then, Mkhwebane has proven that she was a Trojan horse for Jacob Zuma and his band of vagabonds. Most of her rulings have lacked credibility, been of poor legal reasoning and have given strong indications that she was an instrument of the state capture project.

The DA’s allegation that she has close ties to the State Security Agency have been given greater credence by her intimacy with the spy unit. Her association with unsavoury elements in society have shown how
unsuitable she is for this most important task.

This week, Mkhwebane was at the centre of controversy as her findings on Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s colonialism comments were panned and Parliament was the arena of a political bunfight over her future. The Zille challenge will be a matter for the courts to resolve – and expert opinion is that Mkhwebane overstepped constitutional bounds. The only thing City Press will say on the matter is that her weakness has meant that even bigots like the Western Cape premier can credibly tarnish her findings.

We cannot have a Public Protector who is constantly in the news for the wrong reasons, something that undermines the confidence in the office Madonsela built. A parliamentary process into her fitness to hold office would put an end to this once and for all.

However, the ANC is behaving like the Republican Party does in matters relating to the unhinged Donald Trump. The ANC’s immature partisanship has meant that it simply stands in the way of the opposition’s attempts to act in the interests of the republic, regardless of the merits.

Justice and correctional services portfolio committee chair Mathole Motshekga’s charge that “there is currently no basis for Parliament to say we have a Public Protector who is not fit to hold office” is itself without basis.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu’s comment that “anyone who says the Public Protector is no longer fit needs to prove to all of us that the Public Protector is incompetent” is correct.

But we can not get to that point until the party allows Parliament to interrogate this.

If South Africa cannot be freed from Mkhwebane, let us at least be freed from her controversies and the uncertainty they breed.

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