Floyd Shivambu adamant that Public Protector is going nowhere
29 May 2019
The EFF is continuing its support of under-fire Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and her report on Pravin Gordhan as they attempt to prevent him from being elected to Cabinet.
The report, which has been roundly criticised for being baseless, claims Gordhan violated the Constitution when he granted former SARS deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay early retirement with full benefits in 2010.
On Tuesday, Gordhan filed a review application in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria seeking to have the report's findings set aside.
The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Freedom Under Law, Outa, Cosatu and the SACP have all called for Mkhwebane to resign.
On Wednesday, EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, reiterated his party's support for the Public Protector during an address to the media at the party's first Central Command Team meeting in Sandton.
"The official position of the EFF is that the Public Protector is not going anywhere. It will not be sustainable for the office of the Public Protector that every time there is a ruling, we must then engage in the process with the incumbent.
"If we do that, whoever is a successor in the office of the public protector will be scared of politicians because politicians will just remove that person whenever there are adverse findings against them.
"We must not set a wrong precedent if we must destroy the Constitution because we want to save the immediate interests of Pravin Gordhan. We have expressed concerns in 2017 about the understanding of the Public Protector's powers because she had said that Parliament must amend the Constitution," he said.
Shivambu said the EFF's previous misgivings of Mkhwebane had dissipated as she was "now learning the ropes".
"We were worried that what kind of a Public Protector is this, who just instructs the Parliament to change the Constitution? It doesn't happen and it is not done that way and we expressed deep concerns about that.
"But, we are also concerned about her exonerating the Guptas in the Estina Dairy farm in the Free State (probe) and we say that they (Guptas) were directly involved and when the report came out the Guptas we exonerated.
"It looks like there are wrongs signs that are coming from this office, then something must be done. She is now gaining ground in terms of understanding the proper functions of the Public Protector and that is welcomed."
Shivambu said Mkhwebane's office must be protected and she should be gauged in terms of the reports coming from her office.
"If we are not satisfied as the people who are affected, we must go to court to seek judicial review and that is the only way. But, the Public Protector is not going anywhere. Whoever thinks that the Public Protector is going to be removed when Parliament is reconstituted is just daydreaming. The Public Protector is not going to be removed by any Parliament."
But Mkhwebane's future is not solely up to the EFF.
If Parliament sought to remove Mkhwebane, the relevant committee would have to decide on her competence. The National Assembly would then have to pass a two-thirds majority resolution calling for her removal after which the President would relieve her of her duties.