Police, not public protector, should probe Masina’s Covid-19 breach, says Gcaleka
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Johannesburg - Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina’s alleged contravention of Covid-19 regulations should be investigated by the police and not the Office of the Public Protector.
Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka this week said she had no powers to investigate Masina following a complaint by DA MP Mike Waters a year ago.
Waters asked Masina to be investigated for claiming that the municipality would be purchasing Covid-19 vaccines from Cuba after approval from the municipal command council.
Masina’s claim was in contravention of the regulations issued in terms of the act, which prohibit any person from publishing false information regarding the coronavirus.
”The public protector is prohibited from conducting an investigation into any conduct, which may in terms of the provisions described in section 11 of the regulations of the Disaster Management Act, fall within the ambit of the SAPS and further adjudication before a court of law,” Gcaleka said.
She said any investigation by the public protector into Waters’s complaint would be deemed ultra vires, unlawful and subject to a possible review for judicial overreaching.
”The SAPS is vested with the jurisdiction to investigate such criminal complaint and to further refer the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority, should it be established that sufficient evidence exists to substantiate grounds for prosecution and final determination before a court of law,” Gcaleka said.
She said criminal matters are not part of the jurisdiction of the Office of the Public Protector but a matter for the law enforcement agencies.
The closing report into Masina’s alleged contravention of national lockdown regulations was among the 21 released by Gcaleka this week.
She also ordered Western Cape premier Alan Winde to take action against the province’s transport and public works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela after finding him guilty of breaching the Executive Ethics Code by lying about GOOD secretary-general and MPL Brett Herron.
Gcaleka found that Madikizela wilfully made false and misleading statements to the legislature about Herron, conduct which constituted a breach of the Executive Ethics Code.
Herron complained about Madikizela, who is also the DA leader in the Western Cape, in November 2019 and accused Madikizela of wilfully misleading the legislature in breach of the code.
In another high profile investigation, Gcaleka ordered newly appointed Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth to take action against officials implicated in the department’s embarrassing R10 million “ambulance scooter” tender within 90 days.
Meth, who took over reigns in the department in March, must oversee disciplinary action against the implicated officials in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and the department’s applicable policies.
The department must take action against any officials involved in making the decision regardless of position across all the ranks of seniority, according to Gcaleka.