Ramaphosa's legal battles with Public Protector do not impact government work - Mthembu

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu (File: Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu (File: Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

President Cyril Ramaphosa's legal battles with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane are not hurting the government's work, according to Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

Mthembu was briefing the media on Thursday morning on Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, where the matter was again not discussed.

However, when asked if the continuing saga impacted on Ramaphosa's ability to perform his governance functions, Mthembu said: "On whatever matters between the Public Protector and the president, those matters did not come before Cabinet. Therefore, we cannot comment on them because they did not come before Cabinet."

He noted that some of the matters between Ramaphosa and Mkhwebane were before court.

"They have been taken – the Public Protector's findings on the President – has been taken for judiciary review. But that is public knowledge. But they did not come before Cabinet," Mthembu said.

"Also, whether they had any impact on the work that government does. From where I'm seated, whilst they didn't come before Cabinet, they did not impact government work.

"I'm here, I'm still doing government work - everywhere I'm supposed to be. To the best of my knowledge, the president [is] answering questions this afternoon, as part of his constitutional responsibility. So, these matters that [are] happening in the environment, whether emanating from findings of the Public Protector, has not had a negative effect on us continuing to do what we ought to do.

Leave it to the courts

"We are able to do our work, the president is able to do his work. So, there hasn't been any negative impact on our capability to do our work coming from the findings."

Mthembu's view is similar to that which Ramaphosa expressed earlier this week.

"I was elected by the people of South Africa to do their work, so I carry on doing their work and that process continues," he said on Sunday on concluding his state and working visit to Tanzania.

"It's now a legal process and we should leave it to the courts of our country to determine. I'm not able to judge or prejudge what the outcome will be. I leave it to the courts and that is where it is best left."

Ramaphosa took Mkhwebane's report on review. In the report, it was found that he deliberately misled Parliament in November last year when he answered DA leader Mmusi Maimane's questions on a donation from Bosasa (now African Global Operations) boss Gavin Watson.

In the wake of this court case, several documents relating to funding for Ramaphosa's 2017 campaign to become president of the ANC were leaked to the media.

Ramaphosa also lodged a court challenge on Mkhwebane's remedial action in a matter involving Minister of State Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, which resulted in another court ruling against her.

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