Since the quiet release of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into the allegations of the maladministration against the Free State department of agriculture, her findings have been picked apart from several quarters.
Her report, released on Friday, highlighted procurement irregularities, “gross negligence” and maladministration by the department.
On Saturday, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), however, called the report an insult to the intelligence of all South Africans.
Saftu, in a statement, further said it “confirms the view that she has betrayed the principles of her office”, and “has been captured by those corrupt individuals she is supposed to be exposing”.
Saftu acting spokesperson Patrick Craven added Mkhwebane neglected to say anything regarding the allegations in the #GuptaLeaks that the “irregular” transactions she referred to included paying R30 million to fund the Guptas’ infamous wedding in Sun City.
“She makes no reference to the court papers filed by the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit showing that of the R220 million of government money given to Estina for the project, only R2 million went to the Vrede Dairy Farm itself,” Craven said.
The leader of opposition party DA, Mmusi Maimane, isn’t all that impressed either, and has called the conclusion in the report “mindboggling whitewash”.
Maimane said the DA has requested its legal team to closely inspect the contents of the report.
He said it was “frankly mind-boggling how it could be that, after an almost four-year investigation into the Vrede dairy project”, Mkhwebane found only that the department contravened the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), and cited the “large amount of evidence” of grand corruption and money laundering relating to Vrede that is already in the public domain.
Cope has also responded by saying “the current Public Protector is in fact not the protector of the public interest but rather the protector of a gang of thieves with Mr Jacob Zuma sitting at the helm of this syndicate”.