Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane must pay a portion of the legal costs of the Absa/Bankorp report saga in her personal capacity.  File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane must pay a portion of the legal costs of the Absa/Bankorp report saga in her personal capacity. File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Embattled Public Protector seeks divine intervention as losses pile up

By Khanyisile Ngcobo Time of article published Aug 5, 2019

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Johannesburg - As she faces increasing pressure to step down and amid continuing legal woes, Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has again invoked a higher power to help fight her battles. 

In the latest incident, a video has been shared on social media showing Mkhwebane receive prayers during a visit to a church in Midrand. 

The video, shared by Newzroom Afrika's Linda Mnisi, shows members of Alive Alive Ministries laying hands on an emotional Mkhwebane, while she prays along with the congregants. 

Mnisi is quoted as saying the public protector was using "spiritual principles to help fight her battles".

This is not the first time Mkhwebane has invoked a higher power in her battles. 

Last month, while releasing her report into the SA Revenue Services (Sars) "rogue" unit - in which she found  that the establishment of the unit was unlawful and that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was SARS commissioner at the time, had violated the Constitution - Mkhwebane quoted a scripture from the book of Esther in a thinly veiled swipe at her detractors. 

The public protector has in recent months faced increasing pressure to step down in the wake of damning judgments against her. 

The latest high profile case saw the Constitutional Court uphold a Gauteng North High Court decision which saw her incur a punitive personal cost order for her report into the Bankcorp and Reserve Bank lifeboat matter. 

The highest court in the land was scathing against the conduct of the public protector and found that she had acted in bad faith, was not honest and her conduct fell “short of the high standards required of her office”. 

The North High court meanwhile, has also granted urgent interdicts against the implementation of remedial actions contained in her Sars report as well as that relating to Phumelela Gaming and Leisure pending the finalisation of judicial reviews of the reports. 

This as Mkhwebane is locked in a court battle with President Cyril Ramaphosa over her report into the controversial Bosasa donation made towards his ANC presidential campaign back in 2017. 

The public protector last month found Ramaphosa to have lied to Parliament in regard to the R500 000 donation from controversial Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson for his campaign. 

The president had told the National Assembly that the money was a result of a contract which his son, Andile, had with Bosasa when he was asked by DA leader Mmusi Maimane about the funds.

He later backtracked on this in a later response to Parliament, indicating that the money was a donation from Watson for his presidential campaign but saying he was not aware of the funds as he did not directly interact with or know about those who had funded his campaign.

This was seemingly contradicted by the recent leaking of emails, which appear to suggest Ramaphosa had knowledge of the funding received for his campaign.

On Saturday, News24 published emails showing that Ramaphosa was getting consultation from his campaign managers regarding fund-raising for his bid to go up against Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the party’s conference.

There was mixed reaction on Monday meanwhile, to Mkhwebane's church visit, with some praising her for turning to God for help while others likened the visit to that conducted by disgraced former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and former Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza. 

See some reactions below: 


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