Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s “false and contemptuous remarks” about her.
According to a tweet by the Public Protector’s official account on Thursday, Mkhwebane asked Ramaphosa to “rein in” on Mbalula.
She claims the Minister made the remarks earlier this week “in a widely shared tweet” and in subsequent media interviews.
The Public Protector’s tweet stated, “Ministers take an oath to respect and uphold the constitution.
“This includes s181(3) of the constitution in terms of which other organs of state must assist and protect the Public Protector to ensure the office’s independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness.”
‘Not afraid of Mkhwebane’
In a tweet earlier this week which he has since deleted, Mbalula included Mkhwebane in a list of people he was “not afraid of.”
“I’m not afraid of them. [Former President] Jacob Zuma, Carl Niehaus, Kebby Maphatsoe, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Ace Magashule,” he wrote.
The tweet was part of the Minister’s tirade against uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), which had marched against him in Johannesburg on Monday.
The MKMVA protesters called for Mbalula’s arrest, citing the “damaged railway network,” “plight of truck and taxi drivers” and the fact that only seven of the 34 Metrorail commuter lines are operating in South Africa.
However, Mbalula seemingly linked the protest to the “radical economic transformation” (RET) faction which has been agitating against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership.
In a subsequent interview with Newzroom Afrika, Mbalula claimed, “They [MKMVA] call themselves ‘RET forces,’ [that] they are [ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s] people [and] they’ll report me to Mkhwebane.
“I’ve been to Mkhwebane and she ruled unfairly against me and it’s a matter for another day, but the roots of that ruling are rooted there at Luthuli House.”
Mkhwebane has consistently denied allegations that she is targeting Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, allegedly in the interest of the RET faction.
Ramaphosa has publicly reprimanded three of his Ministers so far for various transgressions.
They include Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.
Mboweni’s reprimand involved several tweets in which he criticised Zambian President Edgar Lungu for firing that country’s central bank governor.