Mantashe accuses Mkhwebane of playing into political space

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.
ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has accused public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane of playing into the political space, saying that warrants an intervention.

Mantashe is the first senior ANC official to speak out publicly on Mkhwebane after she was accused of fighting petty ANC factional battles.

"If a Chapter 9 institution behaves delinquently, that should be followed formally and be engaged. There are times when you think that she has occupied a political space that does not belong to her, but we must find a way of dealing with that," Mantashe told members of the media at the second day of the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union policy conference in Boksburg on Thursday.

"Yes… she has occupied the political space from time to time. There were seven presidential candidates in the ANC and she is not interested in any of them except one, that is political." 

He was referring to the ANCs seven presidential candidates who were vying for the position to become Jacob Zuma's successor in the lead-up to the 2017 Nasrec national elective conference.

President Cyril Ramaphosa came out victorious, narrowly beating his rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Mantashe's comments follow allegations that Mkhwebane is at the forefront of fighting ANC factional battles. The public protector has also come under fire with the courts having set aside some of her reports and is facing a bid by the DA to have parliament review her fitness to hold office.

Mantashe, who came short of accusing Mkhwebane of being biased in her investigations, said the seven candidates who were in the ANC presidential race  should all be investigated and not target Ramaphosa alone.

"If she's really interested to follow the question of fundraising for campaigning in the party, not in government, she would have investigated seven of them, but once you select one, you are playing a political role".

However, Mkhwebane's investigation follows admissions, denials and contradictions by Ramaphosa after it emerged that he received R500,000 from Bosasa for his presidential election campaign in 2017.

Ramaphosa claimed not to have known about the donation at the time, and said the money had since been returned.

Following an about-turn in parliament, DA leader Mmusi Maimane then subsequently filed a complaint with Mkhwebane’s office asking her to look into whether Ramaphosa had violated the executive ethics code.

Yesterday, Mkhwebane came under fire from the SA Communist Party's first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila who warned her not to become the “hired gun” of the fightback agenda within the ANC.

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