The affidavit filed by Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, shows exactly why the DA has asked Parliament to initiate proceedings for the removal of the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
We, therefore, believe the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, Dr Mathole Motshekga, should schedule a meeting at the earliest possible convenience to ensure that the process begins.
It has been over two weeks since we have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting exactly this and South Africa can no longer be subjected to a Public Protector who has proved repeatedly that she clearly has no grasp of her mandate.
Among other things, the Minister states that she has failed to respond to his request for documents, and he makes the point that, in compiling her report on the Bankorp/ABSA “life-boat”, Mkhwebane:
- made use of only selected documents before her and failed to consider other relevant documents, such as three reports on the matter by CIEX and the final report of the Heath Commission;
- misrepresented having considered interviews which she did not conduct personally (as they were done by her predecessor) and for which she can’t produce any transcript or minutes;
- failed to demonstrate why she believes that large amounts of the money are in fact recoverable
Mkhwebane has also failed to exercise impartiality in her role as Public Protector. This is an inexcusable shortcoming for someone who holds such an important post.
Papers filed by Barclays Africa allege that Mkhwebane went out of her way to hide the fact that she received submissions from Black First Land First. She also failed to provide full records of her investigation to the South African Reserve Bank and ABSA. This is unacceptable conduct as her office should be transparent.
Her report on the irregular handling of the Bapo ba Mogale community’s trust money is also being challenged, and in this matter too it seems that the Public Protector was not being cooperative in providing a full record of her decision-making.
Citizens cannot feel secure if they do not have trust in their Public Protector and Mkhwebane has clearly let down the people she has been appointed to serve. It is time for her to step down and Parliament has the power to ensure this happens.