STATE OF PLAY
Ramaphosa's public protector problem
Busisiwe Mkhwebane's probes into high-ranking officials — including the president — may give impetus to the growing pushback against Ramaphosa's campaign for clean governance
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is focused on multiple politically explosive investigations — against, among other officials, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa. The outcomes of these probes will inevitably reverberate through the ranks of a deeply divided ANC, where there appears to be growing pushback against Ramaphosa’s campaign for clean governance. So it should be concerning that Gordhan has repeatedly described Mkhwebane’s investigation into his time as commissioner of the SA Revenue Service as an abuse of her powers, and argued that it is part of a "fightback" against that anticorruption drive. This also reflects a wide level of distrust, from many quarters, in a chapter 9 institution that is constitutionally mandated to serve as a powerful watchdog against state wrongdoing. They also follow the intense criticism levelled against Mkhwebane over her invalidated order that the constitutional mandate of the Reserve Bank be changed from a...