Public Protector clears Mbete, Muthambi and Joematt-Pettersson in reports
Johannesburg - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released several reports on Thursday which investigated wrongdoing by top politicians Faith Muthambi, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and former Parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete.
In Muthambi's matter, the office investigated whether she had politically interfered with the affairs at the SABC when she was minister of communications. Mkhwebane found that there was no evidence to substantiate the claim.
Joemat-Pettersson was cleared of accusations that she attempted to fast track the nuclear deal which was sought by Russia and Mbete was cleared of accusations that she had been bribed by a gold producing company.
Mkhwebane's presser also highlighted some other high-profile cases which were at an advanced stage.
The Estina Dairy farm matter, the SARS and Makwaka matter and the VBS bank issue which are probing factors involved in the matter. She said her office was experiencing issues with the South African Reserve Bank with its probe into the VBS matter.
Mkhwebane said her office had done well over the past year with 77% of cases which were older the two years were finalised. Just under 10 000 of the 14 000 cases were finalised.
Mkhwebane said the set back for her office was the Constitutional Court ruling which found that she was liable for costs in her handling on ABSA/Bankorp matter.
In 2017, Mkhwebane issued the controversial ABSA/Bankorp report which found that SARB had illegally gifted Bankorp R1,125 billion before the bank merged with ABSA. In her remedial action, she recommended that ABSA be liable to pay back the funds.
That report was later overturned by the court where Mkhwebane was slapped with a legal bill. She was ordered to pay 15% of SARB' legal cost while her office was ordered to pay the rest.
Mkhwebane said the ruling by the Constitutional Court on the cost matter would have implications on her office's ability to perform its work. "While we respect the court's decision, it is my considered view that the decision is a threat to the independence of this office and sets a wrong precedent on my work and the Public Protector's Future," she said.