Public Protector is being used by a ‘rogue intelligence unit’, says the SACP

South African Communist Party (SACP) deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila has alleged that ‘rogue intelligence units’ that want to destabilise the country and reverse the outcome of the ANC’s Nasrec conference, have a ‘strong influence’ on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Speaking at the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union’s national policy conference on Wednesday, Mapaila said the office of the public protector was an important democratic institution which had to be led with ‘absolute care’.

Mapaila expressed concern about Mkhwebane who now occupies the office stating: “That office must be led with absolute care, it should not be factionalised. Once used as an instrument of factions, it will begin to wane.”

He said court judgments which have overturned reports by Mkhwebane paint a worrying picture about her conduct.

“The public protector should not be the hired gun for the fightback agenda of our movement. We are also worried that rogue intelligence units have a strong influence on this office to destabilise the country,” he said.

This rogue grouping wanted to reverse the gains of the ANC’s Nasrec conference which elected President Cyril Ramaphosa as the governing party’s leader. He did not elaborate on who forms part of this unit nor who whom it reported to, but added that it worked with opposition parties and was behind the National Prosecuting Authority charging Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan over the pension payout to former South African Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

While the charges were withdrawn by then national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams, the same information was provided to Mkhwebane in order to investigate Gordhan. He said Mkhwebane was being used to ‘delegitimise’ individuals in the ANC and the alliance.

“The public protector must not be the hired gun of the rogue intelligence element,” he said.

“We support the work of that office, but not the incumbent.”

Mapaila said the SACP supported the call for an investigation into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office by Parliament.

He warned that the SACP would defend Gordhan and others being targeted by her office.

His comments follow reports that Mkhwebane is investigating allegations of money laundering against Ramaphosa relating to R400-million allegedly donated to his campaign for the party presidency, according to the Sunday Times newspaper.

Last Thursday, Gordhan and other former Sars officials responded to Mkhwebane’s probe on the alleged ‘covert unit’ at Sars during his tenure as commissioner between 1999 and 2009.

Mkhwebane has already found against Gordhan in the matter of Pillay’s pension payout and is conducting at least three further investigations into him based on complaints she received, she revealed in a YouTube video earlier this month. 

Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.
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