Public Protector notes and welcomes the President’s announcement that he will approach the courts for recourse regarding her findings that he violated the Executive Ethics Code
The Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has noted the President’s decision to seek recourse through the courts regarding her recent findings against him as it is his right to do so. Adv. Mkhwebane welcomes this move. As she has said before, any review proceedings must be coupled with an interdict to stay the implementation of remedial action.
The Public Protector has the power in terms of the Constitution to investigate, report on and appropriately remedy any conduct in state affairs or in the public administration, in any sphere of government, which is alleged or suspected to be improper.
In addition, the Public Protector has powers under pieces of legislation such as the Public Protector Act (PPA), the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act (PACCA) and the Executive Members’ Ethics Act (EMEA), all of which were relied upon during the investigation in question.
All the issues that the Public Protector considered for investigation, flowing from the complaints received and which she was obliged to look into under EMEA, fell within the remit of the office. This includes claims of money laundering, which were considered under PACCA. The evidence gathered under this aspect of the investigation has, in terms of the PPA, been referred to the Prosecutions Authority.
EMEA is applicable to members of the executive arm of government such as Deputy Presidents, which is the position the President held at the time of the events that gave rise to the investigation.
Adv. Mkhwebane is confident that her findings are factual, rooted in sound application of the law, will pass the rationality test and are a result of an independent and impartial process.
She has no doubt that she exercised her powers and performed her functions without fear, favour or prejudice as is required by the Constitution.
Having taken note of the action the President intends to take, and given that she believes in the report she put out, Adv. Mkhwebane will seek to assist the court to arrive at the correct conclusion by defending the matter.
She cautions political parties and civil society organizations from making statements that are akin to interference with her office in violation of section 181(4) of the Constitution, which provides that “No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of [the Public Protector]”.