Extract

The office of the public protector is, many South Africans would insist, a hot mess. The clean, clear, austere institution that Thuli Madonsela established seems to have dissolved in a soup of controversy, mistrust, political interference and confusion. But Busisiwe Mkhwebane rose above it all and gave SA a priceless gift.

Admittedly, it came out of nowhere. After all, this is the same Mkhwebane whose insipid report on the Vrede dairy farm didn’t so much slap the wrist of the senior ANC official responsible as gently kiss their greasy palms. The same one who demanded that Absa should pay back R1.25bn apartheid-era loan, causing the Reserve Bank to suggest she had abused her office. Not surprisingly, she has been hammered from all sides. In January, the EFF plumbed fresh depths of hypocrisy and called on her “to learn to keep quiet; for at times, silence is golden”. The Democratic Alliance has officially gone on record to declare that she is not fit to hold office. Which is why this week’s gift was so unexpected. But what a gift it was: A chance for us to reflect on our national genius for taking sides no matter what, and taking them to ludicrous extremes. The beauty of Mkhwebane’s gift was that it fingered two politicians who are equally adored by their fans and despised by their political opponents. ...

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