Mkhwebane’s sacking 'is not going to happen', says Floyd Shivambu

29 May 2019 - 19:27 By LUYOLO MKENTANE
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane still has the support of the EFF.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane still has the support of the EFF.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

Embattled public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will not be removed by any parliament, the EFF vowed on Wednesday.

The party said no one could prove allegations of incompetence against Mkhwebane, as is required by the constitution as a basis to remove her from the Chapter 9 institution.

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This is despite Mkhwebane’s report into the Estina dairy farm project in the Free State recently being set aside by the North Gauteng High Court, which declared it unconstitutional and invalid. More than R200m was allegedly stolen from the project, meant for emerging black farmers, with some of the loot used to pay for the Gupta family’s extravagant wedding in Sun City in 2013.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said on Wednesday that the official position of the red berets is that Mkhwebane “is not going anywhere”.

“Whoever thinks that the public protector is going to be removed when parliament is reconstituted is just daydreaming,” he said.

Shivambu said the sixth parliament would need a two-thirds majority to oust Mkhwebane, but stressed that the public protector's sacking “is not going to happen”.

The DA, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (CASAC) are some of the organisations spearheading a fresh bid for Mkhwebane’s sacking.

Mkhwebane came under heavy criticism when she released a report saying public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan acted improperly when he approved an early retirement for former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay. Gordhan, who was finance minister at the time, then approved a request to keep Pillay on at Sars on a fixed-term contract.

Mkhwebane released the report on Friday ahead of Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration as president.

Gordhan has approached the high court in Pretoria to review and set aside the report, arguing that the timing of its release is politically motivated.

Shivambu, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the EFF’s central command team meeting in Johannesburg, said the EFF had briefed its lawyers to join in the legal defence of the public protector’s report.

“We believe the report and the findings she made on Gordhan are correct,” he said, arguing that if any court endorsed what Gordhan did, it would be setting a bad precedent.

"It is totally going to collapse the Government Employees Pension Fund, because anyone who has got financial problems with school fees or their house can just go and say, 'Cash my pension, I will continue to work'."

Shivambu stressed that in his view, there was most certainly maladministration on Gordhan’s part. “In his court documents he is not addressing the essence of the maladministration he committed,” he said.

Shivambu called on Ramaphosa not to appoint Gordhan into his new, reconfigured cabinet, which is expected to be announced late on Wednesday.