- The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) has accused the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, of protecting those involved in the Vrede Dairy Farm project
- The group said it would seek a court order to have her report on the matter set aside due to it being unconstitutional and unlawful
- Casac said it looked like Mkhwebane had deliberately restricted the investigation and acted in a manner which was inconsistent with the independence of her office
The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) has accused the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, of protecting prominent politicians involved in the Gupta-linked Vrede Dairy Farm scandal by altering reports made by her predecessor Thuli Madonsela.
Casac said it would seek a court order to have Mkhwebane’s report into the scandal set aside because it was unconstitutional and unlawful, the group also wants a court to declare that Mkhwebane had failed to discharge her constitutionally mandated duties.
Casac said it looked like Mkhwebane had deliberately restricted the scope of the investigation and acted in a manner which was inconsistent with the independence of her office. Additionally, the group claims she wilfully ignored reports on the involvement of the Gupta family in an attempt to clear corruption.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Casac’s executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said previously unreleased Treasury reports pointed to the involvement of Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane in the project.
The report recommended that disciplinary action is taken against the head of the agriculture department, Peter Thabethe, and its chief financial officer, Seipati Dhlamini, but no such action was ever taken and Mkhwebane simply ignored this in her final report.
Naidoo said it appeared as if Mkhwebane had altered the original report, which was published by Madonsela in certain fundamental ways. Naidoo said the report was altered in a way which pointed towards a deliberate attempt by Mkhwebane to protect politicians.
Madonsela’s provisional report found Thabethe was guilty of improper conduct, abuse of power and maladministration, yet Mkhwebane’s report removed any reference to Thabethe.
The recommendation by Madonsela for a forensic audit to be conducted on the project to verify all expenditure was also removed from the final report.
“In the absence of any explanation from the Public Protector, Casac submits that the only possible inference, which the Court should not hesitate to draw, is that she deliberately curtailed the Report’s findings and remedial action in an effort to protect Department officials, and thereby acted for an improper purpose and in bad faith,” Naidoo charged.
Casac also claimed Mkhwebane was misleading Parliament by indicating she had launched a new investigation into the scandal which would focus on the alleged involvement of certain politicians, without revealing that she had excluded those politicians from the original report.
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