The office of the public protector is one of the most powerful and important positions in public office. In the battle royal between former public protector Thuli Madonsela and former president Jacob Zuma over the upgrades at his Nkandla home, the Constitutional Court ruled that the remedial action of the public protector could not be ignored or modified and could be taken only on review by a court. This ruling — that the office of the public protector held a status similar to that of a court — was enormously important. It made it clear that in establishing the office of the public protector the makers of the Constitution had given citizens real and effective recourse in the event of abuse of power. But in 15 months the incumbent, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has shown she does not want to protect the public. In the two main cases on which she has issued reports, she has done the opposite. In one, she has actively protected those accused of corruption by refusing to investig...

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