The legal battle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has got under way after months of strategic leaks to the media, and serious accusations of impropriety on both sides.
Pravin Gordhan, formerly the commissioner of the SA Revenue Service and twice minister of finance, now the minister of public enterprises, has been systematically demonised as corrupt, incompetent and the main reason for Eskom’s descent into dysfunction. And it seems that the assault has worked, writes Pieter du Toit.
"Deliver us from these rating agencies and oppressors of the downtrodden for economic freedom in our lifetime and generations to come."
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has dismissed the institution's chief operating officer, Basani Baloyi, and suspended four senior officials and investigators. It is unclear in which investigations they were involved in.
In the weeks leading up to the ANC's national elective conference at Nasrec in December 2017, a sophisticated listening device went missing from the highly secure State Security Agency's headquarters.
Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate boss Robert McBride has accused Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's recent report into allegations of maladministration against him as an "erosion of IPID's independence".
President Cyril Ramaphosa says "issues" with the Public Protector are par for the course and these "political things" are not distracting him from his job.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she is only accountable to Parliament after anti-corruption group Accountability Now laid a complaint against her, with her own office.
The SACP has reiterated its call for Parliament to institute an inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office.
The Office of the Public Protector has denied Busisiwe Mkhwebane has any relationship with Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans official Carl Niehaus after claims emerged that a photo, which was shared on social media and political WhatsApp groups, showed the two meeting at a restaurant.
When he was finance minister, he had to time and again fend off attempts to capture the Treasury and reconfigure the fiscus. He used the office of the chief procurement officer at the Treasury to clamp down on illegal, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and tried to keep a rein on rampant expenditure, which created many enemies who wanted to keep on pillaging state resources, writes Pieter du Toit.
In 2020, Busisiwe Mkhwebane is expected to keep up her pressure on the central bank with six more investigations in the pipeline.
The Public Protector's suspension of four high-ranking officials and its axing of CEO Basani Baloyi was seemingly over a Financial Services Conduct Authority report that is being taken on judicial review.
In reaching her finding that SARS had established an unlawful intelligence service that conducted illegal spying operations, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ignored crucial evidence that presented a far different version of events.
The police, including the Hawks, are not aware of any complaints surrounding Project Snowman and Project Broken Arrow – two projects of the so-called "rogue unit" at the SA Revenue Service, cited as alleged evidence of wrongdoing against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Parliament's Rules Committee is expected to devise a process for the removal of the Public Protector.
More woes for the Public Protector has come in the form of a ruling of the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, which found that her office as well as she is responsible for some of the legal costs in her personal capacity in the Vrede dairy farm matter.
International investors are "bewildered" by attacks on President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Lord Peter Hain told Fin24 on Tuesday.
The legal team adds that Gordhan doubts the Public Protector's "competence, integrity, legal literacy and Constitutional grasp of her powers, duties and functions".
The Constitutional Court's decision to uphold a cost order against Busisiwe Mkhwebane only adds to the embattled Public Protector's woes. Here are five of the biggest challenges she and her office are currently facing.
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