President Jacob Zuma’s loudly rumored ally, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she is considering taking a stand against Zuma’s call for state capture report review once she receives advice on the legalities of his application.
Speaking in Pretoria on Thursday ahead of her briefing on her first 100 days in office Mkhwebane gave notice to possibly oppose President Jacob Zuma’s state capture report review based on the legal advice given to her.
The State capture report prepared by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, has generated much public fuss as the report implicated many politically influential individuals, including President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.
The report found that Zuma may have breached his executive code of ethics and may be conflicted over his son‚ Duduzane’s relationship with the Gupta family.
But in November last year, the presidency announced that Zuma was taking remedial action in the report. He approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to request for State capture report review.
In his affidavit, Zuma challenged the recommendation that a commission of inquiry be established, saying it “violates the rule of law that it is inconsistent with the Constitution and breaches the separation of powers principle”.
He questioned the authority of then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation, saying any attempt to implement the remedial action would be an abdication of his constitutional responsibility, rendering the judicial inquiry ‘unlawful and a nullity’.
South Africans expect that The new Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane -who has been accused of protecting Zuma’s interest against that of the people- will take turns in doing Zuma’s bid.
But, in her media briefing, Mkhwebane said her decisions about the State Capture report review will be determined by her legal advisers
“Yes, I have lodged an intention to oppose, in the notice, I clearly indicated that I will consider my position once I have been advised by senior counsel on the legalities of the basis of the application,” she said.
“I’ve indicated that this is a complex matter and there is no legal precedent on it, therefore I will be getting a comprehensive legal opinion and I will assess the information, and I will decide whether to continue opposing or to then change course.”
“I expect a comprehensive legal opinion from senior counsel in the second week of this month.” She said adding that she would want to be sure whether to actually oppose Zuma’s application or not.
Speaking further about the State Capture report review, the public protector reiterated that her job is not to protect President Jacob Zuma, but the entire SA citizens and that Zuma will be probed if his actions amount to misconduct.
“I am here to defend and to implement the Constitution. And I need to categorically state that the Constitution provides for the rights of everyone.
About controversial report, she said: “I don’t have a problem with the report. The report is there, the report is binding. I won’t change the report…
“So, I am not here to protect one person. My role is to protect the public. So I am not defending the president,” she said pointing out that if the president has committed misconduct or there is a service failure from the president, the president will be investigated.
About her 100 days in office, Mkhwebane said it’s been a ‘bumpy’ 16 weeks for her office, but that this was not unexpected.
Due to the heightened interest over who would take over from her predecessor, Madonsela, it was not surprising that her seven-year term got off to a rocky start. But she assures South Africans that she and her team stood their ground and would not waver from holding leaders accountable.