Editor's note: The Public Protector's job is ostensibly to protect the public from corruption within the government. The position is designed to be independent of government and impartial.
Briefly.co.za editor, Laura Slyer, takes a look at the current position of Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, in light of the Vrede Dairy Farm report, and questions whether Mkhwebane is truly the Public Protector.
One has to wonder, in light of the recent release of the Vrede Dairy Farm report by the office of the public protector, whether Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is looking after the public interests, as per her job description, or her own?
Mkhwebane has come under fire for her report which appears to be little more than a half-hearted attempt to divert blame for the fiasco on to Free State civil servants.
The political principals involved, including Free State premier and now ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, have not been mentioned in the report, except in the recommendation of remedial action.
Mkhwebane has recommended that Magashule start disciplinary proceedings against the Department of Agriculture in the Free State.
Which brings into question her common sense, let alone her loyalties. Surely, as an Advocate in the position of a constitutional institution, Mkhwebane would understand the concept of bias and the need to appoint an independent investigator into the case?
By recommending that Magashule be responsible for the disciplinary proceedings on a case of fraud and corruption that happened under his supervision, she's handing him a silver platter of cover-ups.
All he has to do now, is decide who he doesn't like in the department and lay the blame at their feet.
Links to State Capture
Also unscathed in the public protector’s report was Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who was Free State MEC for agriculture at the time and who, allegedly, presided over the payment of R220 million to the Gupta family and their associates.
So now the question is; how deeply compromised is the Public Protector that she is able to overlook the involvement in a R220 million scam, of key political figures who have long been supporters of Jacob Zuma?
Zuma; a man with his finger in 783 corruption-filled pies, among allegations of state capture by the Guptas, who were the recipients of the money that was laundered from the Estina Dairy project.
If Busisiwe Mkhwebane cannot be trusted to fulfill what is essentially her constitutional duty to the public of South Africa, then who is she really protecting?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Briefly.co.za
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