Photo Illustration: ANA Pictures
The public protector is silent when SA needs her most, writes John Steenhuisen.

Damning revelations emerge daily of the true scale and extent of state capture in the executive and our state-owned enterprises by the Gupta-Zuma network. As a consequence of each new e-mail and allegation break, it is pertinent to ask: Where is our public protector?

In the midst of this scandal, Busisiwe Mkhwebane seems to be missing in action, maintaining a strangely stoic silence. This is odd, as chapter seven of the Public Protector Act empowers the office to conduct an investigation on her initiative. Why has she not acted on even one of the allegations of abuse of office by a single minister or public official to have emerged in recent weeks? It's the public protector's constitutional obligation to investigate any conduct in state affairs or the public administration that is “alleged or suspected to be improper, or to result in any impropriety or prejudice”. The latest scandal surely ticks all those boxes.

Much public scepticism heralded Mkhwebane’s appointment. So far, her inaction has done nothing but prove her critics right.

South Africans need a strong public protector who is going to stand up for the constitution and what is right, not a patsy who kowtows to the executive.

* John Steenhuisen is DA Chief Whip, MP

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Sunday Independent