If Thuli was the best public protector we’ve ever had, where will Mkhwebane land on that spectrum?
Public Protector Busissiwe Mkwebane looks to be determined to make us miss Thuli as much as she possibly can. Mkwebane seems ready to withdraw her notice to oppose President Zuma’s court bid regarding the State Capture report. Her office had previously said that she intended to oppose Zuma’s bid and “follow the law.”
Now, it seems she has other ideas. Mkhwebane told the Sunday Times that she now agrees that president Zuma should be able to appoint the judge that reviews the report. Madonsela had originally recommended that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng head up a commission of enquiry into the matter. Zuma opposed, saying he as the president should be able to appoint his own judge.
Withdrawing the report marks Mkhwebane’s new belief that the president should be able to “use his own prerogative” on the matter. Her change of heart came after she “consulted a law firm on the constitionality of Madonsela’s recommendation.” The Public Protector believes that it won’t matter what judge is appointed, as the judiciary is already completely independent
This is not the only thing Mkwebane has going on at the moment. Recently she had to publically say that she “harbours no ill-will to Madonsela.” Reports of this ill-will have been circulating since the hand over. Things really escalated though when Madonsela claimed that R470 000 was illegally deducted from her pension. Mkhwebane said the money was deducted “in the spirit of good governance,” as a result of damage done to Madonsela’s official vehicle in 2013 when her son crashed it. The Auditor General cleared Madonsela for the damage costs as she did not give her son permission to drive the car.
We will just have to wait and see if Mkhwebane even makes any attempt to protect the public, right now it doesn’t look likely. So while we all are missing Thuli, one thing we know for sure is that President Zuma is not.