For Mkhwebane’s office, cases aren’t ‘won or lost’

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla / Netwerk24

‘The public protector has no cases to win or lose as she has no vested personal interest in any of the thousands of cases she handles every year.’

Despite the office of the public protector (PP) having had yet another report set aside by the high court, the Chapter 9 institution does not feel concerned about losing its credibility, saying there were no “win or lose” cases.

Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said this in response to the setting aside of parts of the Bapo Ba Mogale report, about the community’s missing millions that were paid by mines, which was released in 2017.

The report was an investigation into alleged improper prejudice suffered by the community as a result of maladministration by the former Bapo administration and the department of local government and traditional affairs.

“The public protector has taken note of the judgment, especially the fact that only aspects of the report insofar as they relate to the applicant and not the report in its entirety were set aside,” said Segalwe.

“It is of critical importance for the public to understand that the public protector has no cases to win or lose as she has no vested personal interest in any of the thousands of cases she handles every year.”

Sagalwe said the role of a public protector was similar in almost all respects to the judicial role.

“Like judges, she adjudicates cases and makes a myriad of decisions about the guilt or innocence of individuals accused of maladministration, corruption and all sorts of improprieties.”

Segalwe said all the judges, including those who have set aside the public protector’s findings, have themselves been overruled countless times by superior courts.

“What this tells us is that the public protector will be successful in defending her decisions, as was the case in the Nelson Mandela Funeral report and MEC Mokaba-Phukwana report, and will be unsuccessful in other matters,” he said.

The application was brought by an attorney who represented the community of Bapo Ba Mogale, and Abel Dlamini who was the administrator in the matter which dated back to 2012.

According to media reports, Dlamini was accused of being paid exorbitant amounts relating to the construction of Bapo Ba Mogale Palace – which cost over R100 million – despite about R29 million being set aside for the project.

The PP’s investigation found that when Dlamini was one of the administrators, the correct tender processes were not followed.

However, the High Court in Pretoria dismissed this.

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