Despite a series of losses in the courts against her, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday said it supports Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and won’t call for her to resign.
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule and his deputy Jessie Duarte briefed media on the outcomes of the national executive committee meeting held in Irene, Pretoria, over the weekend. Duarte said the governing party hasn’t given any instructions to its caucus in parliament regarding Mkhwebane’s future.
“The ANC supports the public protector’s office, we have not made a call for her to step down. Whenever she makes findings, the person concerned has the right to challenge and have such findings reviewed. The president [Cyril Ramaphosa] has responded by taking her findings on review…similarly with [Public Enterprises Minister] Pravin Gordhan, the public protector’s findings cannot be implemented while there is a review process,” Duarte told reporters in Johannesburg.
“We have not discussed that view on whether she should step down. Our primary focus is to allow the law to take its course. So, we are still saying we support her and will continue doing so.”
The embattled public protector suffered yet another bruising court loss on Monday when Judge Sulet Potterill ruled in favour of Gordhan in an urgent application to interdict Mkhwebane’s remedial actions in the Pretoria High Court.
In a scathing judgement against Mkhwebane, Potterill described her remedial actions against Gordhan as “vague, contradictory and nonsensical”.
Mkhwebane had made several adverse findings against Gordhan in a report released by her office last week into the so-called South African Revenue Services (Sars) “rogue unit.”
Mkhwebane, who is supported by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in her legal battles, criticised Potterill’s judgement and the wording used, saying she would launch an appeal. The EFF said it would take the matter to the Constitutional Court.