Public Protector also has Bathabile and Nomvula in her sights - report

2019-05-30 09:10
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane during the release of her report Nelson Mandela's funeral funds inquiry on December 04, 2017 in Pretoria.  (Phill Magakoe/ The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane during the release of her report Nelson Mandela's funeral funds inquiry on December 04, 2017 in Pretoria. (Phill Magakoe/ The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is also investigating "multiple complaints" against former ministers Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane, Times Select reported. 

Mkhwebane has been the subject of much scrutiny from, among others, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who has slammed her as being "unfit for office", "stunningly incompetent", "acting unconstitutionally" and issuing a report as part of a political campaign to prevent him being reappointed to Cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa, News24 reported. 

He said the report and subsequent reaction is an attempt to taint him and attack his integrity.

READ: Proxy war between Gordhan and Mkhwebane a zero-sum game

In her report, issued last week, Mkhwebane recommended that Gordhan be investigated over an early retirement pension payment agreement for former SA Revenue Services (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

Gordhan was on Wednesday reappointed to his Cabinet position as public enterprises minister. 

This, despite an onslaught against Gordhan from within the ANC, by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, and other formations like the newly-formed African Transformation Movement (ATM), following the release of the report.

Not the first time

This is not the first time Mkhwebane has been under fire for her findings. Earlier this month, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that Mkhwebane failed in her duties to investigate and report on the Vrede dairy project in the Free State. 

Judge Ronel Tolmay ruled that Mkhwebane's report was unconstitutional and invalid and set it aside.

ANC secretary-general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule and former Free State agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane were implicated in the scam. 

According to Times Select, Mkhwebane's office said that Gordhan was not the only politician under investigation. Yet, he was the only one against whom a report was issued right before the cabinet announcement, based on an anonymous complaint laid in November 2016. 

ALSO READ: From Patricia to Pandor - Here is Ramaphosa’s new (smaller) Cabinet

The Public Protector's office reportedly said that former water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane also faced complaints – laid in July 2016 – that she was involved in the awarding of multiple irregular tenders. 

Times Select further reports that a separate complaint has also been laid against Mokonyane over "allegations of maladministration, undue delay and procurement irregularities in the installation of 51 km Nandoni-Nsami Water Pipeline, which resulted in the community of Giyani suffering prejudice". 

Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini is reportedly also being probed for SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) tender irregularities, following several complaints.

Application to set report aside

Meanwhile, lawyers for Gordhan have filed a review application asking the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to set aside a report by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that found he flouted the Constitution.

In addition, he will also ask the court for a declaratory order that Mkhwebane, who has had two reports set aside by the High Court already, did not act in accordance with the Constitution or the Public Protector Act.

The application was lodged on Tuesday morning in Pretoria.

In a notice of motion lodged, Gordhan's attorneys say he will ask the court to set aside both Mkhwebane's decision to investigate and the subsequent report as "unconstitutional, unlawful, irrational and invalid". He will also seek a punitive costs order against Mkhwebane. 

Dlamini was axed from Cabinet on Wednesday when Ramaphosa announced his new Cabinet. 

Mokonyane, on the other hand, has decided not to go to Parliament "due to family considerations". 

News24 understands the former minister has opted not to live full-time in Cape Town and serve Parliament on behalf of the ANC following the death of her husband, Serge Mokonyane, last month. 

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Read more on:    public protector  |  nomvula mokonyane  |  bathabile dlamini

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