Cape Town - Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane must be thinking of himself as some sort of an untouchable for his bid to interdict the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) from probing his alleged involvement in a qualifications scandal at the University of Fort Hare.
Mabuyane cannot reasonably expect the public not to be suspicious when he makes such a move, especially if he has nothing to hide.
We are not suggesting he is guilty of anything, far from it. That is what this SIU probe aims to establish.
But a public representative who attempts to prevent another arm of government, in particular law enforcement agencies, from doing their job, leaves much to be desired.
Mabuyane has turned to the Bhisho High Court to challenge a proclamation President Cyril Ramaphosa signed authorising the SIU to probe allegations of maladministration at the university regarding the awarding of degrees.
He believes Ramaphosa’s proclamation was invalid and unlawful and should be reviewed and set aside. He argues the president made an “error of law by failing to understand the ambit of his powers and his discretion under the SIU Act”.
For a person who has nothing to hide and believes he is innocent, Mabuyane should not have sleepless nights over this investigation.
The sooner the SIU gets to the bottom of the rot at Fort Hare, the better for the university and its vice chancellor and principal Professor Sakhela Buhlungu, who has been championing the fight against malfeasance.
One would have expected Mabuyane to be the first to rally behind Buhlungu and his team.
They have seen the worst happening this year, including the brazen killing of his protector outside his home in what was suspected to be a hit.
The people arrested and charged with the murder of Mboneli Vesele were obviously a drop in the ocean, considering the scale of the problems at that institution. We hope the SIU probe will reveal exactly who has been looting at this historic university.
Mabuyane’s advisers should have reminded him that where there is smoke, there usually is fire. The best advice is to use his energy helping the SIU do its work, not fight it.
That sends a worrying message in a country where transparency in government has become foreign.