Somebody should probably head over to the public protector’s office in Pretoria and hand Busisiwe Mkhwebane a copy of the constitution. You’d think she’d have one already, given that her office derives its power entirely from chapter 9 of that document. But it would seem not. A scathing ruling by judge Ronel Tolmay in the high court in Pretoria this week illustrates how Mkhwebane seems to have been confused about whether her job is to "strengthen constitutional democracy" or to protect political functionaries from accountability. Tolmay declared Mkhwebane’s report into the corruption-tainted Vrede Dairy farm project "invalid" and "unconstitutional". To recap, Mkhwebane was asked to investigate how it was that R200m meant to buy cattle for black farmers in the Free State ended up in the pockets of the Gupta family — and was then used to pay for a wedding at Sun City. But Mkhwebane contorted herself into knots in her report to avoid making any finding about the culpability of the Free...

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