Tag Archives: Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

South Africa – DA demands Public Protector release Guptas report

News24

Public Protector must release Gupta reports – DA

2017-06-19 07:32

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)

 

Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to release four reports involving the Gupta family on Monday “in the interest of transparency and the South African public”.

Mkhwebane gave very little away when she announced she would hold a media briefing at her office on Monday morning “to release formal investigation reports”.

The Sunday Times reported that she had sat on at least four separate investigative reports involving the Gupta family since she took up office eight months ago.

Her office told the newspaper that the reports were pending, not buried.

They include:
– the landing of Gupta wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013;
– the relationship and funding of The New Age, key state-owned companies such as the SABC and the North West provincial government;
– The relationship between certain ANC politicians and the Guptas.

Without fear or favour

On Sunday, DA MP and justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said that with the flurry of reports uncovering state capture, it was more important than ever for the public protector to investigate and report without fear or favour.

“It is telling that not one of the reports released by Mkhwebane during her tenure have involved any key political figures, despite there being numerous complaints against such individuals,” she said.

“The DA were concerned at her appointment and specifically that she has always been employed in and around government and that she specifically indicated that she wanted to have a more ‘friendly relationship with government’, which now seems to be proving true.”

Mkhwebane announced on Wednesday that she would conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the merits of some of the allegations that have been published as part of the #GuptaLeaks saga that point to issues at Eskom, Prasa and Transnet.

These allegations point to improper or dishonest acts or offences with respect to public funds at the state-owned enterprises as well as well as improper or unlawful enrichment by certain public officials at these institutions.

Aside from the #GuptaLeaks, the investigation will also look at the controversial re-appointment of Brian Molefe as head of Eskom.

South Africa – ANC chief whip Methembu battles factions and Zuma critics

City Press/News24

Jackson battles rogue MPs

2017-06-18 06:01

CHALLENGED ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu

CHALLENGED ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu

 

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu had his hands full this week dealing with absent ANC MPs in the National Assembly as well as defiant MPs who challenged his authority to hold them accountable.

The fractures are indicative of deepening divisions in the ANC parliamentary caucus amid broader factions becoming more apparent in the party in the run-up to the national elective conference in December.

The tensions played out in this week’s caucus meeting where a group of MPs who had requested that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane include National Treasury, the SA Reserve Bank and the Financial Intelligence Centre in her state capture investigation defended their decision to approach the Public Protector without informing their bosses.

According to three sources who attended Thursday’s heated caucus meeting, Mthembu spoke out against the MPs who made the request, saying this was a sign of ill-discipline. He allegedly asked them to explain their actions to the caucus.

The MPs, led by Loyiso Mpumlwana, stood their ground and said they had not violated ANC policy by going to the Public Protector.

They accused Mthembu of being guilty of the same for allegedly expressing his views as if they were the views of the caucus he leads.

According to two of the sources, Mpumlwana charged:

“Wena [You] Jackson, when you go out and say ‘it’s the tradition of the ANC for the deputy president to become the president’, who are you representing … which caucus took that position?”

Mthembu’s backers allegedly claimed that by presenting a view that was not sanctioned by the caucus, the other group was intentionally undermining the chief whip and trying to portray him as someone who was not able to manage the caucus.

They view the request for the Public Protector to investigate Treasury as a deflection in an attempt to minimise the impact of the Guptas’ alleged role in state capture.

According to sources, Mpumlwana explained that they were forced to approach the Public Protector following complaints from their constituencies.

He allegedly argued that MPs represent constituencies and therefore could not ignore issues that were raised at that level.

Mpumlwana expressed the same sentiments to City Press two weeks ago when he said: “MPs have a duty to respond to the issues of their constituencies. We can’t take everything to the caucus.”

Then, Mpumlwana had claimed that more than 90 MPs were signatories to the letter requesting the Public Protector to expand her state capture investigation and added that the list was growing every day.

Tensions

Mthembu had, in a statement issued on June 1, distanced the ANC caucus from the group’s actions, saying the MPs acted in their individual capacities and not as representatives of the ANC parliamentary caucus and that whatever they submitted to the Public Protector was their own view.

He later indicated to City Press that the MPs would have to explain themselves to the party caucus and that the caucus would take a decision on the way forward.

But all three sources claimed that there was a stalemate and no way forward had been proposed or agreed to.

Mthembu refused to comment on the latest developments around the matter. He said caucus issues were not to be spoken of in the public domain.

“I will not deny nor confirm the issues that we discuss in caucus,” he said.

Mpumlwana was not available for comment. Several phone calls and an SMS went unanswered on Saturday.

At the same caucus meeting, Mthembu is said to have announced plans to discipline MPs whose absence from the National Assembly had led to its failure to pass certain laws.

In recent weeks, and following walkouts by opposition parties, Parliament has had to postpone the passing of proposed laws due to the lack of a quorum.

The Border Management Authority Bill, for instance, was only passed during a third attempt earlier this month as on two prior occasions there were not enough MPs in the House to meet the required 50% plus one quorum to pass a law.

Hours after Thursday’s meeting, Mthembu asked the National Assembly to postpone the approval of the Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill because there were not enough MPs to pass the law.

He told City Press this was because a number of ministers had gone to Knysna with President Jacob Zuma following the devastating fires there last week.

Mthembu lashed out at opposition parties for their staged walkouts and said these were absurd and unpatriotic.

“They must tell us if Parliament’s majority is now centred around the 249 ANC MPs. They must say so, so that we change everything to centre around the ANC.

“If you are saying you won’t assist the ANC in passing its laws, say so and then tell us what example are we setting for provinces and hung municipalities where they are in charge,” he said.

A long-serving ANC MP compared the tensions in the party’s caucus to those of 2006 when then chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe claimed the caucus was fully behind Thabo Mbeki when the former president came under attack from the SA Communist Party and trade union federation Cosatu for his alleged “imperial” presidency.

Goniwe was attacked by MPs who agreed with the ANC’s tripartite alliance partners.

The MP, who sympathises with Mthembu, said even if the other grouping was pursuing a matter raised by their constituencies, they should have gone through the chief whip.

“What they did affects everybody in caucus.”

Mthembu is regarded as a sympathiser of ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and has faced hostility from Zuma’s supporters.

South Africa – ANC’s expensive lessons; SABC failure lessons

News24

2016-12-20 07:40

Max du Preez

And there, 22 years after we became a democracy, ANC members proved that they could also be good parliamentarians and keep the executive accountable, which is their actual job.

But as I sat and watched the proceedings of the parliamentary investigation into the SABC board, I remembered that these were the very same ANC MPs who had recommended these same board members that had failed so miserably to the president for appointment.

I have personally witnessed the charade of those vettings for the SABC board. ANC MPs walk in with a list of sycophants from Luthuli House and regardless of merit, those on the list are the ones that will be appointed to the board.

Let’s face facts, that dangerous clown that has embarrassed virtually all South Africans and managed the SABC to the brink of collapse, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is a creature of the ANC itself.

This is an expensive lesson for the ANC, one I hope they’ll learn properly. Because the ANC will govern at least until mid-2019.

All indications are that the ANC had made another bad appointment that the country will also pay a heavy price for: the new Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

From the day she walked into her office, her behaviour and utterances have left the strong impression that she has no intention of continuing Thuli Madonsela’s brave work.

Frankly, there is reason to suspect that Mkhwebane is firmly in the Zuma/Gupta camp.

I shared the DA’s apprehensions when she was appearing before Parliament as a candidate. Her background in state security set off the red lights for me.

I have seen enough evidence the last year or two to conclude that the state security machinery under Minister David Mahlobo views the protection of Jacob Zuma, his inner circle and their band of state capturers as its primary task.

Now that the ANC’s parliamentary caucus members have discovered their backbones, they will probably have the same frustrations with Mkhwebane sometime next year than they’re having with Motsoeneng now.

I hope the ANC took notice of the overwhelmingly positive public reaction to what happened in parliament with the SABC board investigation.

This, comrades, is how you can try and be re-elected in 2019; how you can prevent the once mighty ANC from declining to a tiny opposition party in the next decade: serve the people of the country instead of the interests of a president or a section of the party.

A good start would be to choose knowledgeable, capable and independent-minded people to the new SABC board, people who could return the public broadcaster to its erstwhile glory during the first five years after 1994.

There were other lessons for the ANC MPs.

With the presentations of journalists of the SABC8 group they witnessed what a journalist of integrity looks like.

This is something to be proud of and cherish, not fear.

Journalists like Thandeka Gqubule, and there are many more of them in our media, are flag bearers of our democracy and open society, not people who should be seen as enemies who should be undermined and declared as enemies.

The ANC MPs were visibly unhappy and even embarrassed with the reactions of minister Faith Muthambi to their questions.

The ANC under Zuma has never had high standards when cabinet ministers were appointed, but Muthambi and other Zupta-insiders like Bathabile Dlamini, Des van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane represent an all-time low.

You are the ANC, comrades in Parliament, not Zuma.

For the sake of South Africa, for the sake of the once proud ANC and for the sake of your own survival, get rid of these bad apples.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

South Africa – ANC calls on new public protector to investigate Madonsela

News24

Mkhwebane must investigate Madonsela – ANC

2016-11-09 12:39

Advocate Thuli Madonsela (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Advocate Thuli Madonsela (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Johannesburg – The ANC on Wednesday called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate her predecessor for releasing details of her interview with President Jacob Zuma.

The party wanted to know if Thuli Madonsela acted unethically and violated the Public Protector Act, spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

Mkhwebane had said leaking the audio recording of the interview was in contravention of the act, The Citizen reported on Wednesday.

Kodwa said that, by making the interview public, Madonsela had undermined the reputation and credibility of her own investigation into state capture, and that of the Public Protector’s office.

“There can be no justification for such behaviour. This conduct fuels a public perception that she wasn’t independent and acted with impunity.”

He said she could have submitted her interview with Zuma during a judicial review into her report.

The Citizen reported that Madonsela had told the Association of Black Securities Investment Professionals’ annual conference that she did it to demonstrate that Zuma had been given a chance to answer questions during her investigation. He claimed she did not give him the opportunity.

In her State of Capture report, released last Wednesday, Madonsela looked into allegations that the Guptas, a family with close ties to Zuma, had influence over some state-owned enterprises and was involved in the appointment of ministers.

She recommended that Zuma institute a commission of inquiry into her findings.

On Monday, the Presidency said Zuma had lodged a complaint with Mkhwebane about the release of the interview.

South Africa – Mkhwebane won’t release state capture report until court gives green light

Mail and Guardian

Mkhwebane will not release state capture report until court has given her green light

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says the 'state capture' report is with her office's head of legal services. (GCIS)
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says the ‘state capture’ report is with her office’s head of legal services. (GCIS)

The new public protector will not be releasing the “state capture” report until the court has given her the go ahead.

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was briefing Parliament’s justice committee on Wednesday, where the report on state capture took centre stage.

MPs, including Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu, questioned her on when the report would be available.

“I think we unanimously agree as political parties that the report should be released,” Shivambu said during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance MP Werner Horn asked her to reveal the contents of the letter sent to Parliament by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to Parliament when she was requesting a safe place for the report.

An unfazed Mkhwebane fielded questions on the report, the backlog of cases and allegations that she was a spy.

She refused to comment on the letter and said the matter was before court.

She was in the process of preparing an affidavit, which was due on Friday, she said.

“I cannot release the report until the matter is finalised, the matter is sub judice. If I can be given an opportunity to respond on Friday,” she said.

She was still consulting her office, she said.

“And I cannot commit to say tomorrow the report is released, because the court said it should be kept safe,” she said.

She had not yet read the report, she said, which was safe and sound in the office.

“The report is kept safely in the safe of the head of legal services. I don’t have a safe in my office.”

Questioned by ANC MP Bongani Bongo on the use of consultants to compile the report, and their security clearance, she said the report had been compiled by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

Consultants were also used, including former Commission for Gender Equality commissioner Janine Hicks, who was in quality assurance.

She would not say how much it had cost to get the report compiled by PwC and merely said they would come back with a comprehensive report for the committee. – News24