EFF says the public protector ‘is not going anywhere’
The EFF has briefed its lawyers to join in the legal defence of Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report, and believes Pravin Gordhan guilty of ‘maladministration’
Embattled public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will not be removed by any parliament, the EFF vowed on Wednesday.
The opposition political party said no-one could prove incompetence and incapacity against Mkhwebane as required by the constitution, as basis to remove her from the Chapter 9 institution. This despite Mkhwebane’s report into the Estina dairy farm project at Vrede in the Free State recently being declared unconstitutional and invalid and being set aside by the North Gauteng High Court.
More than R200m was 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.
On Wednesday, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said 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 Mkhwebane’s sacking “is not going to happen”.
The DA, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, and the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution 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, further approved a request to then 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 Pretoria High Court to review and set aside the report, and has indicated 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 on Wednesday, said the EFF has 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,” said Shivambu, arguing that if any court could endorse what Gordhan did, it would be setting a wrong 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’.”
He stressed that there is most certainly maladministration on Gordhan’s part in his view. “In his court documents he is not addressing the essence of the maladministration he committed.”
Shivambu called on Ramaphosa not to appoint Gordhan into his new, reconfigured cabinet, expected to be announced late on Wednesday.