CAPE TOWN - The Public Protector, Busiswe Mkhwebane has today responded to claims made by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), accusing her of enshrouding information in her final report into the Vrede Dairy Farm scandal.
Casac accused Mkhwebane of advancing a dampened report which disregards crucial information and essentially vindicates senior political leaders with the likes of Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane, reports Eyewitness News.
Casac's Lawson Naidoo said: “And further, we’re asking the court to order that a personal cost order be made against Busisiwe Mkhwebane in her personal capacity due to the way in which this investigation was conducted and the fact that she has sought to conceal critical aspects of the investigation and its outcomes.”
Notably, this is not the first time that the Public Protector has been slammed for the report.
In February this year, DA leader Mmusi Maimane slammed Mkhwebane's report into corruption in the Vrede Dairy Farm project.
Maimane said while the DA legal team was still considering the report, it was mind-boggling how "after an almost four year investigation into the Vrede Dairy Project, Mkhwebane found only that the Free State Department of Agriculture contravened the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act."
He said the Public Protector also failed to send a copy of the report to the DA as the original complainant, as per past practice.
"There has been a large amount of evidence of grand corruption and money laundering relating to Vrede that is already in the public domain. Yet none of this seems to have been investigated by the Public Protector.
Meanwhile, on April 19, Mkhwebane said that she will investigate the role played by politicians in the controversial Free State Vrede dairy farm project.
Mkhwebane was asked by Parliament’s justice committee to investigate the role played by politicians following her appearance in Parliament
A report on the project was released by the office in February and was considered a whitewash by political parties as they believed it did not go far enough to place the role played by certain politicians and the Gupta family.
Mkhwebane said this will be a new investigation and is not linked to the report released in February as she believes that matters dealt with in that report have been finalized.
The political figures that Mkhwebane is expected to investigate include former Free State premier Ace Magashule and former Free State MEC for agriculture Mosebenzi Zwane.
In recent news regarding Casacs claims against Mkhwebane, The Public Protector today issued a response to these claims on her official Twitter account.
According to the statement, Mkhwebane rejects Casac's claim that the report was "watered down". The statement further claims that according to the provisional report, the involvement of politicians was not part of the investigation and neither did it form part of the report.