Adv. Mkhwebane taken aback by Mr. Mboweni's alleged remarks
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane wishes to register her disquiet about public utterances attributed to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Tito Mboweni. TimesLIVE.com on Wednesday quoted Mr. Mboweni as appearing to be trivializing the serious matter of dishonesty on the part of the Director-General in the National Treasury, Mr. Dondo Mogajane.
This followed Adv. Mkhwebane’s finding in December 2018 that Mr. Mogajane failed in 2017 to disclose his criminal record when he applied for the position he currently occupies. Adv. Mkhwebane would like to stress the point that this was not merely a “traffic fine” as suggested by Mr. Mboweni and other critics but a conviction by a court of law.
The conviction ought to have been disclosed, given that the government Z83 form which is used to gather information about prospective employees explicitly probes if applicants have a criminal record, a question to which the applicants are required to respond with a “yes” or a “no”. In response to this question, Mr. Mogajane replied with a “no” despite having been made aware previously that this kind of conduct amounted to dishonesty on his part.
Adv. Mkhwebane further wishes to emphasize that her finding was based on law and the prevailing rules in the public service. She requests those who have a problem with the requirement that civil servants be vetted prior to their appointment to push for the rules to be changed.
“The President has already pronounced that he is taking action in this matter. It is therefore strange that the Minister appears to be contradicting the President,” said Adv. Mkhwebane, adding that she will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Baleka Mbete to report ministers who interfere with the functioning of her office in violation of the constitution.
Adv. Mkhwebane is concerned that, given the reports that the Minister has “no confidence” in her, and she has made an adverse finding against the DG, her repeated requests for more resources to bolster her investigative capacity might not bear fruit, much to the detriment of members of the public who do not have the financial muscle to litigate against the state and instead rely on her office to vindicate their rights.