EDITORIAL: Busisiwe Mkhwebane: Ripping apart a legacy
Less than a year after taking the reins from the lauded Thuli Madonsela, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has managed to devastate the credibility of her office in almost record time.
Court papers lodged by the Reserve Bank this week eviscerated the notion that she is there to assist the public. Rather, they support what many suspect: she is there to protect Zuma and his cronies — at the expense of SA society.
In an affidavit, the Bank’s general counsel, Johannes de Jager, revealed that two weeks before Mkhwebane released her report on the Bankorp bailout (which, unconstitutionally, ordered parliament to change the Bank’s mandate), she secretly met with Zuma’s lawyers, as well as officials from the State Security Agency.
Tellingly, Mkhwebane omitted to reveal this in her report.
As an "independent" entity, there is no good reason for Mkhwebane to be meeting Zuma’s lawyers, or state security.
At best, as De Jager points out, these meetings are "highly irregular". At worst, they are evidence of a conspiracy to rob the Bank of its independence, in the same way that Zuma has gutted treasury and other institutions.
Predictably, Mkhwebane has denied conspiring with the presidency. But it is a denial that has all the gravity of Richard Nixon’s "I am not a crook."