ANC calls on members to refrain from public criticism of Mkhwebane

The African National Congress (ANC) has called for the Public Protector to be given space to do her work.

Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: @PublicProtector/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) has called for the Public Protector to be given space to do her work.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane has reportedly accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of failing to uphold the Constitution by not complying with her office's remedial action in her investigation into Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

_The Business Day _said that it has seen a letter in which Mkhwebane accused Ramaphosa of not taking action against Gordhan after she found he wrongfully approved the early retirement of former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay in 2010.

While the ANC's Pule Mabe would not be drawn on the specific matter, he's called for restraint.

“We call on everyone to make sure that they exercise restraint and refrain from making public pronouncements that might otherwise undermine or compromise the very standing on the Public Protector.

“We’ve got a duty as the ANC to uphold the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, head of ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) Kebby Maphatsoe said that ministers who criticised Mkhwebane were undermining the Constitution.

This past week, ANC chairperson and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe joined other senior leaders of the ANC alliance who have labelled Mkhwebane as incompetent, saying she was interfering in political matters.

The MKMVA came to her defence after the ANC issued a statement calling for the respect of Chapter Nine institutions.

Maphatsoe has accused Mantashe and other senior ANC leaders, who have taken an oath during their ministerial appointments, of bias.

Maphatsoe said the same applies for those who were silent while Mkhwebane was allegedly being viciously attacked.

“Overall, we took oaths as Members of Parliament that we’ll respect the Constitution, so, by going out in public, undermining the oath that we took of respecting the Constitution. So, you’re undermining the oath that we just took.”

This week, South African Communist Party (SACP) first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila claimed Mkhwebane was influenced by rogue intelligence operatives and factions fighting President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mkhwebane later hit back, saying Mapaila must produce evidence of the claims or apologise, failing which she would take legal action.

Meanwhile, Mantashe said she had been wrongly meddling in political affairs.

Maphatsoe has warned that the criticism levelled against Mkhwebane could lead to a constitutional crisis.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)