We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

SACP says public protector's office has become a 'party political battlefield'

09 June 2019 - 17:20 By Zingisa Mvumvu
SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande says Busisiwe Mkhwebane has politicised the office of the public protector and turned it into a 'party political battlefield'.
SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande says Busisiwe Mkhwebane has politicised the office of the public protector and turned it into a 'party political battlefield'.

The SA Communist Party (SACP) has taken aim at embattled public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, calling for a parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

This after the party's central committee held a plenary session this weekend.

SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande said the party was of the view that Mkhwebane had politicised the office and turned it into a "party political battlefield".

PODCAST: Sunday Times Politics Weekly - “The President owes us an explanation”

For more episodes, click here.

Subscribe: iono.fm | Spotify | Apple Podcast | Pocket Casts | Player.fm

According to Nzimande, court rulings against Mkhwebane over her reports on the SA Reserve Bank and the Estina dairy farm saga were enough grounds to question the incumbent public protector's fitness.

To this end, said Nzimande, parliament should settle the matter and also emphasise the role of the office which they believe Mkhwebane does not understand.

"Unfortunately the office of the public protector, instead of being preoccupied with defending the poor and vulnerable, has become an instrument of the better-off in society to fight political and other battles," said Nzimande.

"It is for these reasons that the SACP is seriously concerned about the constant scathing court judgments against the current public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. The SACP therefore believes that it is imperative for parliament to carry out an inquiry into her suitability to hold this important office.

"It is not because we have a personalised agenda against her, but the court judgments have the potential to damage the standing of this office.

"We even hope an inquiry like this will clarify and anchor the office of the public protector better."

Nzimande also criticised ANC factions engaged in a debate about the role of the SA Reserve Bank for their opportunism and "vulgarism".

Saying the stance of the so-called radical economic transformation (RET) on the matter was meant to collapse the bank, he lashed out at the neoliberals for selective quoting of the constitution on the matter.

Nzimande said the the central committee called for a sober debate on the matter of the central bank.

Said Nzimande: "The radically sounding slogans on the Reserve Bank and monetary policy by the spurious RET and state-capture fightback agenda networks are aimed at nothing but the weakening of the Reserve Bank's capacity to monitor and control outward illicit capital flows headed for places like Dubai.

"However, exposing and tackling the spurious RET agenda must, on the other hand, not be allowed to be hijacked and diverted towards support for the arrogant, know-it-all neo-liberals and their advocates who are oblivious to the necessity to have the Reserve Bank's mandate to explicitly target employment creation."

According to Nzimande, the SACP believes that the Reserve Bank Act should be amended to "clearly reflect the developmental responsibilities of the Reserve Bank".

Meanwhile, the public protector on Sunday "noted with concern" claims contained in a news article "based on a document purported to be a preliminary report" of her investigation relating to a Bosasa donation to Cyril Ramaphosa's 2017 presidential campaign.

According the article, the document in question was accessed "courtesy of one of the president's confidants".

Mkhwebane said in a statement that she and her office will not comment on the contents of any news report or leaked document that purports to be hers as that could potentially jeopardise her investigations and prejudice the subjects of the probes. 

"Reports of the public protector are released officially by Advocate Mkhwebane to complainants, respondents and the public ... Contents of notices issued by the public protector ... or any document before the public protector as part of an ongoing investigation are strictly confidential."