/ 25 July 2019

President doesn’t feel under attack by PP — Mthembu

Minister Jackson Mthembu.
Minister Jackson Mthembu. (David Harrison/M&G)



Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu said the president does not feel under attack by the Public Protector.

This comes as Busisiwe Mkhwebane announced she’s investigating the appointment of South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

Kieswetter was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the revenue collector in March this year.

This latest probe follows a week of tumult involving the public protector and Ramaphosa, in which Mkhwebane detailed in an investigative report that the president had misled Parliament and that he violated the executive ethics code by not declaring large sums of money raised in his fundraising campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017.

Two days later, Ramaphosa used a Sunday evening press briefing to announce he will be taking the report under urgent judicial review.

“We don’t feel under attack. We have never felt that way about anybody,” said Mthembu in a post-cabinet briefing in Cape Town on Thursday.

“The President has said we respect all structures created by our Constitution. And we will support those structures in fulfilling their constitutional obligation,” he said.

Mthembu said the issue of the public protector investigation into the appointment of Kieswetter was not discussed in this week’s Cabinet meeting.

In other announcements, Mthembu said that Cabinet had received a report by the presidential expert advisory panel on land reform and agriculture.

“The panel was appointed by the president to provide a unified policy perspective on land reform,” said Mthembu.

Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza will reveal details of the report to the public at the weekend.

On the appointment of the person to oversee the restructuring of power utility Eskom, Mthembu said that decision will be made by the ministers of public enterprises, finance, and energy.

Earlier this week, while tabling a special appropriations bill to give Eskom a financial lifeline, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told MPs an announcement was imminent.

Cabinet, which meets every two weeks, will then be notified, and then decide whether or not to approve the appointment.

“The Cabinet will have to be appraised who the person or persons are when the process has been concluded… Cabinet will be taken into confidence as to who the person is. But the behind the scenes work will be done by the ministers,” Mthembu said.