During the period of high capture the office of the public protector became one of the most important bulwarks against unbridled corruption.
With Thuli Madonsela at the helm it held firm in the face of aggressive political onslaughts and emerged on the other side as one of South Africa’s most important constitutional guarantors.
But the tenure of Madonsela’s successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has done enormous damage to the institution.
Dragging it into a series of political skirmishes, she has lost every single court case of significance – including the appeals.
This week the High Court in Pretoria handed down the latest, again exposing Mkhwebane as unsuited for a position in which legal clarity of thought, and common sense, is an imperative.
In this week’s Friday Briefing investigative reporters Sarah Evans and Kyle Cowan track her career – including a very close relationship with the intelligence community – and attempt to answer the question: why is Mkhwebane here, and what does she want?
Best, Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor: In-depth news
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been handed a series of damning court judgments, she has been accused of sloppy investigative reports and suspected of maintaining dubious political alliances. She has become an active political player. So, the question is: Why is she here, and what does she want? Sarah Evans and Kyle Cowan reports.
The courts found that she doesn’t understand the law, she fails to act rationally and ignores evidence. And these findings are compounded by the SARB and Estina judgments. Her position is untenable, and she cannot survive, writes Pieter du Toit
She wields constitutionally protected power to safeguard our democracy. It was not for nothing that the Constitutional Court likened the Public Protector to a biblical David who takes on the powerful Goliaths in public office, writes Mpumelelo Mkhabela
If this was the only judgment against the Public Protector’s reports, one might be entitled to consider that this was an aberration. Sadly, this is not the first time that a court has made a similar finding, writes Serjeant at the Bar