Opposition slams Mkhwebane
Decision on state capture ‘surprises’
OPPOSITION parties have been left shocked by new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s decision yesterday not to oppose the application by President Jacob Zuma and Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen to block the release of the state capture report.
The opposition promised to meet Mkhwebane in court on November 1, when the application will be heard. They said this was no longer a matter for her, but that of opposition parties against Zuma and Van Rooyen because they wanted to interdict the release of the report.
Mkhwebane told Parliament this week she would file her responding papers in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday. She did not indicate to MPs whether she would oppose the interdict.
Yesterday Van Rooyen withdrew his application in the High Court, arguing the public protector had not made serious findings against him. This flew in the face of his urgent application last week when he sought to block the release of the report.
DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said they were disappointed about Mkhwebane.
“We are surprised and somewhat disappointed at her reaction which does not bode well for a Chapter 9 institution,” he said.
Their application on November 1 would go ahead and the court would have to rule whether it would allow it as an intervening party. The DA, Cope, UDM and EFF are intervening parties in the matter.
Selfe said the case next month would no longer be between the public protector against Zuma and Van Rooyen, but opposition parties against the president and his minister.
Cope spokesman Dennis Bloem said they were shocked and disappointed by Mkhwebane’s decision.
Bloem said they wanted the report to be made public urgently. They were starting to question some of Mkhwebane’s decisions, he added.
“It is very clear since this new public protector has taken over, it seems to us she is busy trying to do things in a way to discredit Thuli Madonsela,” he said.
Acting EFF spokesman Fana Mokoena described the decision as strange. He said it was also interesting that Van Rooyen had withdrawn his application.
But the EFF would be in court next month to hear the application.
ACDP MP Steve Swart said they were equally shocked by this latest development.
“It does seem strange because all the parties say the report must be made public.”
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.