‘Mkhwebane not empowered to investigate infringements of Bill of Rights’

De Vos has argued that the public protector’s report will be found to be irrational and eventually set aside by a court when taken on review.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos has described Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s findings related to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s colonialism tweets as preposterous.

De Vos has argued that the report will be found to be irrational and eventually set aside by a court when taken on review.

Zille tweeted last year that for those claiming that the legacy of colonialism was only negative, they should look at various aspects of South Africa’s development.

Mkhwebane found that the comment not only violated sections of the executive members ethics code but also the Constitution.

Mkhwebane held that Section 16(2)(b) of the Bill of Rights prohibits people from making offensive or insensitive comments.

De Vos says firstly, that the Public Protector is not empowered by law to investigate alleged infringements of the Bill of Rights.

Further, he says the section referred to does not prohibit anyone from doing anything but rather sets out which forms of expression are not protected.

De Vos says that Mkhwebane’s reliance on this section suggests she lacks the most basic understanding of constitutional law.

Zille has confirmed that she will take the report on judicial review.

[LISTEN] Why the public protector investigated Zille after tweets

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)