Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu briefing members of the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting. Photo: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
Parliament - Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says the Cabinet was not feeling under attack from the Office of the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane despite investigations into some members of the executive and the President.

Mthembu made the comment when responding to questions at a post-Cabinet briefing in Parliament on Thursday. 

“No, we have never felt that by anybody. The president has said we respect all structures created by the Constitution.” he said.

“We will support those structures in fulfilling their constitutional obligations,” Mthembu added.

His comments came amid Mkhwebane’s office confirming fresh investigations into the affairs of the South African Revenue Service.

The probes are connected to complaints alleging maladministration in the recruitment and selection processes followed before new Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa based on recommendations by the panel.

This took place against the backdrop of reports released by Mkhwebane in connection with Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who have since lodged judicial review applications.

According to Mthembu, the Cabinet had at its meeting not discussed Mkhwebane’s investigations.

“Was Sars commissioner discussed or any investigation by anybody, no.

“It never came up for discussion in Cabinet.”

Mthembu also said the Cabinet received the final report of the experts on land reform and agriculture, which was appointed by Ramaphosa last September.

He said the report made findings on the current status quo and made recommendations that would assist in accelerating the work of government in redressing land distribution.

“Cabinet directed that all ministers, through their respective departments, must study the report and its proposed recommendations and revert to Cabinet within two months. The Inter-ministerial committee on land reform, chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza, will oversee this”

Mthembu also said the panel of experts and Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza would brief the media on the report on Sunday.

The panel’s report is expected to be made public for public comment.

The minister stated that the work done by the executive on land reform would not impact on the parliamentary process to amend the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

“This report of the panel has no bearing on what Parliament has started and is engaged in because that is the executive initiative. Parliament will continue with determination whether they should amend the Constitution,” he said. 

“Whatever we do at Cabinet does not nullify what is in the domain of Parliament,” Mthembu added.

He also said the Cabinet was not appraised on the appointment of chief restructuring officer at Eskom.

“We were assured that very soon it will be served on Cabinet because there is an urgency to stabilise Eskom and key actions towards stabilisation is appointment of chief restructuring officer. The matter is to come to Cabinet and the person or persons to be seized with the matter,” he said.

Political Bureau