Why, we have to ask, would Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane be reticent about releasing reports which refer to the most burning issues facing the leadership of this country?
Of the 11 reports released by Mkhwebane since she took office last year, none have addressed the critical state capture issue or the Gupta family. It is almost as if these have been securely locked away, consigned to file 13.
Mkhwebane’s office claims four separate reports into the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, are pending and will receive attention. These include a draft report on the illegal landing of Gupta wedding guests at Waterkloof, delayed by a lack of resources, but a finding was made that Zuma failed to act and promoted the scapegoat Bruce Koloane to serve as an ambassador to the Netherlands;
An investigation is still at a provisional stage into the relationship The New Age newspaper had with Eskom and the SABC after R40 million was paid to the Gupta-owned newspaper; And then the report on the Guptas and their influence over Zuma and politicians.
A complaint was lodged by the National Union of Mineworkers and, according to the public protector, was still under investigation. No further details would be released as this could compromise the final report – and then the crucial state capture report released by Thuli Madonsela as a draft report before the former public protector left for Harvard University.
We are expected to believe that the mandate of the public protector is to investigate complaints that could have serious implications for a country battered by a faltering economy and a growing uncertainty on the path being taken by the ruling elite – without fear or favour.
Surely the seeming obfuscation over the unreleased reports does the office of the public protector no possible good – and we would hasten to add, the public she is tasked to serve.