The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said yesterday it shared growing concern over the competence and ability of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to discharge her office’s constitutional and legal obligations.
“Last Friday’s hasty adverse findings of the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, against former finance minister Pravin Gordhan raises serious questions on the credibility of the process and the report itself,” the foundation’s executive director Neeshan Balton said.
Balton noted the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew its charges against Gordhan in 2016 on the same allegations, on the basis that it had no prospect of success, as well as the Nugent Commission of Inquiry’s finding that Ivan Pillay’s pension payout by Gordhan was lawful.
“The public protector was acting in a manner that came across as being irrational and driven by an agenda that is clearly not about protecting the interests of the public,” Balton said.
“The timing of the announcement of her findings and subsequent hasty release of the report seems to suggest that it was made with only one purpose in mind, to try and influence the president’s choice of Cabinet members.
“The report was made public a mere two days after those implicated had filed their responses to the public protector. This resembles an administrative charade rather than following due process.”
Balton added the foundation supported growing calls by political and civil society organisations – such as the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the South African Communist Party, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution and Freedom Under Law for Parliament – for President Cyril Ramaphosa to review her fitness to hold office and relieve her of her post.
“Her repeated blunders are eroding public trust in a constitutional body that is meant to protect citizens against state maladministration,” said Balton.