The office of the Public Protector under Busisiwe Mkhwebane has had its fair share of upheavals in the first 100 days since taking over from Thuli Madonsela in October last year.
The success of the office thus far is that the institution had 719 cases older than two years at the end of April 2016. By the end of December, the figure had been reduced to 518, with 87 of the cases being closed up to that point disposed of during the first 100 day.
Apart from seemingly being preoccupied with cleaning up her tarnished image, Mkhwebane is set to investigate new matters of maladministration against the South African Revenue Services, The Department of Home Affairs, The Department of Mineral Resources and Transnet.
Mkhwebane has put out a strong plea to the media, requesting them to allow her office to complete their tasks before publishing leaked documents which she says jeopardises their investigations.
Currently Mkhwebane has 19 draft reports that are being quality-assured. Some of them will be looking into allegations of irregular acquisition of VIP planes for the Presidency, allegations of maladministration and irregular conduct against the Rustenburg Local Municipality in respect of the funeral of councillor Moses Phoke; allegations of corruption in the use of public funds by the Eastern Cape provincial government in preparation for the funeral of the late President Nelson Mandela.
Mkhwebane saya she wants to dispel the myth that she is in the pockets of President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family, after being called a “Gupta puppet” as well as accusations by the Democratic Alliance that she was a spy.
Mkhwebane says she is seeking legal guidance on what she calls “half truths which need to be dealt with”.
Mkhwebane will also be looking into President Zuma’s application to have her remedial action of the State Capture Report set aside. “I have filed a notice to oppose the application in order to comply with court rules, and will consider my position once I have been advised by Senior Counsel on the legalities of the basis of the application,” she says.
Mkhwebane has called this a “complex matter”.
“No precedent exists in South African law on how to approach it,” she explained.
Mkhwebane says she expects legal advice on the matter to be concluded by the second week of February.
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