Editor's note: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made headlines when she found Public Enterprises Minisetr Pravin Gordhan guilty of improper. Cyril Ramaphosa escalated the matter further when he appointed Gordhan to his Cabinet despite the Public Protector's finding. Lawson Naido, however, considers Mkhwebane's pursuit of Gordhan to be a waste of resources.
The public protector has often protested about the lack of funds made available to her office by the Treasury, arguing — as in the Vrede Dairy Farm case before the Pretoria high court — that these resource constraints have hampered her ability to effectively investigate matters.
This would appear a legitimate concern as it is echoed by other chapter nine institutions. Indeed, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, also lamented the lack of resources for her office.
In fact, Madonsela appealed to the Treasury for an additional R3m in early 2016 to enable her to properly investigate and conclude the state capture report. She was granted R1.5m and finalised the report in October 2016, just before leaving office.
Its remedial action included the establishment of the judicial commission of inquiry now headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, to further investigate and report on issues raised in that investigation.
In the face of these difficulties a key task of the public protector must surely be to prioritise investigations and make optimum use of the resources at her disposal to discharge her mandate. Why then does she appear to be prioritising complaints against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan?
Read the rest at Business Live.
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