Opinion

Busisiwe Mkhwebane is a public menace, not a public protector, and she must go

17 March 2019 - 00:04


President Cyril Ramaphosa's first order of business after the elections should surely be to make sure Busisiwe Mkhwebane is relieved of her job.
She needs to go. She should not be allowed to stay a day longer in her post. Every hour, every minute, she stays in the job she tarnishes the good name of what has been the finest of the chapter nine institutions. Otherwise she will do enormous damage to the country or even reverse whatever changes Ramaphosa has initiated since assuming office.
Her misguided decisions and findings have the force of the law. They're binding.
What's so scary is that she doesn't seem to be that bright; like a child in a candy shop she's besotted by the untrammelled powers she wields. She's therefore almost oblivious of the damage that she can cause. Power, especially when it's unfettered, is most useful to society when applied with care and circumspection.
The country has been left stunned by the revelations at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture. But were it not for Thuli Madonsela's foresight this commission would not have seen the light of day and these misdeeds would have remained buried.
Madonsela used her powers for the good of the country and knew that her successor was likely to cover up this malfeasance, so she effectively removed it from Mkhwebane's purview by recommending a commission of inquiry chaired by a judge who'd be appointed by the chief justice to investigate these matters.
One would have hoped that parliament would have sought Madonsela's opinion about Mkhwebane's character before appointing her to such a crucial portfolio. Not that they would have listened. The DA's allegation that Mkhwebane was a spy was ignored. She denies the allegation and has threatened to sue. And so she got the job courtesy of the ANC and the EFF.
Initially the EFF seemed embarrassed by their vote, but they have since warmed to her and are championing her cause, just as they've now forgiven Zuma, their arch-enemy, and are furiously defending the likes of Tom Moyane. Their armies and storm troopers are now happily doing the goose-step together. Somewhere in there is the public protector quietly doing her bit for the cause.
She's still pursuing issues at the South African Revenue Service - not how Moyane destroyed a fine institution in the blink of an eye, but why Pravin Gordhan granted early retirement to a senior official when he was Sars commissioner a decade ago.
Apparently it doesn't seem to matter to her that the matter was fully investigated by both the NPA and the Nugent commission, which didn't find anything untoward. She's patiently beavering away. Gordhan has already been summoned to bend a knee before her.
Next week it's the turn of Oupa Magashula, Gordhan's successor as Sars commissioner. She's using her office to fight Zuma's dirty wars.
Attempts to recall her have been frustrated by the ANC, who seem unsure whether to stick with Ramaphosa or follow Zuma into the wilderness. The ANC may have changed its leader but it has hardly changed. It is the same group of devious and duplicitous characters who abetted and defended Zuma through thick and thin.
Those hoping for a change of heart would have suitably been impressed with the party's parliamentary list of candidates released this week. It's the same old, tired lot. It's bereft of talent or wisdom. The party obviously likes what it sees in the rear-view mirror. It continues to be the party of Zuma and Ace Magashule. Does the ANC honestly expect people to walk into the booth to vote for Bathabile Dlamini?
The list is crawling with crooks and criminals. I guess if we are to maintain our enviable record as the most corrupt and crime-ridden country on Earth, we might as well leave the responsibility of crafting and enacting the country's laws to the criminals themselves.
If someone had gone out to compile a list of the crooks in the country he would have been hard-pressed to produce a better one. At a time when the abuse of women has got out of hand, the ANC sends Mduduzi Manana, a convicted abuser, back to parliament. Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who sold the country's strategic oil reserve with utter impunity, is also rewarded with a seat in parliament.
David Mahlobo deserves a sentence all of his own. The hero of the cyberattack on parliament, who turned the intelligence service into Zuma's private army, is also going back to the scene of his greatest triumph. Then there are the petty thieves, serial offenders, the Gupta and Bosasa deployees such as Mosebenzi Zwane, Vincent Smith, Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba, Collen Maine - the list goes on and on. It's a rogues' gallery. Oh! the glorious movement.
One often fails to understand why the Hawks or the police find it so difficult to crack the crime and corruption in this country. Because it's fairly simple. All they have to do is raid parliament when it's in session. The suspects will all be there in one place. But unfortunately it can't be done. Parliament is holy ground.
Because his party is so compromised and is likely to undermine attempts to fight corruption, Ramaphosa will need upstanding people in the top echelons of the police, National Prosecuting Authority, the judiciary and critical chapter nine institutions.
Mkhwebane sticks out like a sore thumb. She should not be allowed to defile and dishonour the place any longer. Ramaphosa will have to take the bit between his teeth and make sure parliament takes the necessary steps to remove her.

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