She ‘can turn tables on Ramaphosa’ over ‘irregular’ VIP Zimbabwe trip.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, on the rear foot for therefore long, might be trying to find payback against President Cyril Ramaphosa as she probes the ANC’s irregular use of a SA Air Force executive jet to require a VIP group to Zimbabwe.
Mkhwebane has had to eat humble pie on repeated occasions within the courts over her handling of varied reports, including one into Ramaphosa, after he frustrated her attempts to censure him over the alleged R500 000 payment to his CR17 election camapign by the controversial Bosasa group.
She could turn the tables on Ramaphosa if it seems that the president was conscious of , and approved the ANC group trip to Harare, said a political expert. However, her reviewed reports might outweigh any adverse finding against Ramaphosa, said another.
Political economy analyst Daniel Silke said by investigating the matter, the general public protector could also be on a tit for tat mission against the president.
The supreme court in Pretoria early this year put aside her Ramaphosa finding and described it as “confused, inexplicable and irrational”, saying she violated her powers, did not apply the law correctly, nor properly assess the evidence.
The court said Mkhwebane did not understand her jurisdiction.
Mkhwebane said in July 2019 that Ramaphosa had misled parliament when he said R500 000 had been paid by Bosasa or African
Global Operations to his son Andile, when it had been to his CR17 campaign.
“It does appear as if the general public protector feels ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ concerning the Zimbabwe trip and therefore the possibility for embarrassing the president. it’s going to rather be that she is playing a game of tit for tat should he be implicated in prior knowledge or maybe tacit approval of the utilization of the airplane,” Silke said.
However, it might clearly depend upon her findings which he wouldn’t want to prejudge.
“Whatever the result here, this issue is unlikely to possess any pertaining to her own performance so far and her legal setbacks are going to be more important than this issue. Still, she will still embarrass the president if there’s indeed wrongdoing,” Silke said.
Political analyst Professor Susan Booysen said Mkhwebane had such an avalanche of adverse finding against her that there’s little chance that she would enjoy fruits of finding against Ramaphosa – albeit he’s found to possess known about the flight.
“Given that she is understood (through evidence) that she is decided to seek out against Ramaphosa, on some case or another, an investigation by this public protector would also suffer credibility deficits,” Booysen said.
Dr Ralph Mathekga said Ramaphosa’s government would need to take the responsibility for the Zimbabwe junket. “Their case sits right within the middle of the factional battle within the ANC. However, Ramaphosa will find it difficult to distance himself from the mess. he’s ultimately liable for what happens in government.”
Mkhwebane confirmed her office was approached by various parties to research the trip of a high-powered ANC delegation, led by party secretary-general Ace Magashule, employing a SA Air Force plane to attend a gathering with Zimbabwe’s governing Zanu-PF.
The Democratic Alliane, Freedom Front Plus, Congress of the People and African Transformation Movement condemned it. Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald demanded the trip’s cost.