POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Ramaphosa-Mkhwebane battle to rage on
President to ask court to seal documents contained in protector's report, which he says were obtained illegally
The legal battle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and under-fire Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will dominate the news headlines this week.
Ramaphosa and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan have been under growing pressure following the release of controversial reports by Mkhwebane.
In July, the public protector released her report on the donation to Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign by corruption-accused facilities management firm Bosasa. She found that the president had deliberately misled parliament on the donation to his campaign. She ordered that national director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi investigate “prima facie evidence” of money-laundering linked to the campaign.
Ramaphosa is seeking an urgent legal review of Mkhwebane’s report. The matter is due to be heard on Monday. The president has asked the Pretoria high court to seal some of the documents contained in the controversial report, arguing that the financial information and e-mails Mkhwebane relied on were unlawfully obtained.
Meanwhile, the EFF has called for Gordhan to be removed from his position following another controversial report by Mkhwebane that the minister violated the constitution by establishing the SA Revenue Service (Sars) “rogue unit”. Mkhwebane directed Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan within 30 days.
In July, a court interdicted Mkhwebane from enforcing the action recommended in her report.
Ramaphosa has also won his court battle with Mkhwebane over her order that he take “appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan in connection with the early retirement he authorised for then deputy Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay.
The ruling is the latest in a series of legal blows Mkhwebane has suffered, and has emboldened those calling for her to be removed from office. Her critics say she is acting on behalf of a faction in the ANC that is working to derail Ramaphosa’s reform agenda.
Mkhwebane has rubbished the claims, saying she is doing her job and holding senior officials to account.
The inquiry into state capture is due to resume on Monday.
Friday will be the seventh anniversary of the Marikana massacre.
On Monday, the Marikana Support Campaign, Right2Protest, Right2Know and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA will stage a march to Mankwe magistrate’s court in Mogwase to commemorate the massacre and demand justice for the families of the miners.
The lobby groups say the mineworkers and their families have yet to see real justice. “Thirty-four mineworkers were shot and killed on August 16 2012. The police oversight body ... determined that all of these deaths were caused by police actions. However, no police officers have been prosecuted for any of these deaths,” the groups said.
The Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union will on Friday host an event in Marikana to commemorate the slain workers.
Ramaphosa will lead SA’s delegation to participate in the 39th Summit of Heads of State & Government of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to be held in Tanzania on August 17 and 18.
According to a cabinet statement released last week, the summit is expected to deliberate on wide-ranging issues, including implementation of plans on industrialisation, trade, infrastructure development, establishment of a regional parliament, and consolidation of peace and security in the region.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga will address a women’s month event at the Women’s Living Heritage Monument in Pretoria on Monday.