Mboweni ‘has right to review protector report’

Date: 22 Feb 2019

President’s office backs move by finance minister on findings against Treasury DG

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa says Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is well within his rights to take Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on review regarding its findings against Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane.

Before delivering his maiden speech, Mboweni told journalists he would be taking Mkhwebane’s report on Mogajane on judicial review and that he had no confidence in her abilities.

Last week, Ramaphosa said disciplinary action would be instituted against Mogajane, in line with Mkhwebane’s recommendation, following her finding that the senior public servant had lied about his criminal record for speeding when applying for a job.

In a statement, the Presidency said Ramaphosa had delegated the power to institute the disciplinary action to Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor.

“Once Minister Pandor has fulfilled her role, the president has delegated to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni the authority to implement the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, including, but not limited to, the implementation of the sanction pronounced by the chairperson of the hearing,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, Mboweni threw his weight behind Mogajane.

Yesterday, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko rejected any insinuation that Mboweni was being defiant or that Ramaphosa was doing a U-turn on the matter.

“The president is aware of the National Treasury’s intention to take the PP’s report on Dondo on review. This is a measure that is provided for in our law for any aggrieved party. The Treasury is well within its rights to exercise it.

“Any insinuations of defiance are purely mischievous and designed to undermine dispute resolution mechanisms that are perfectly legal and acceptable,” said Diko.

She said Mboweni did not differ from Ramaphosa, as he had not expressed any view on the matter.

“It is incorrect to say Minister Mboweni differed from President Ramaphosa. The president has offered no view on the matter; he has only sought to implement the recommendations which include establishing the facts through a disciplinary enquiry,” said Diko.

Mkhwebane said she was unhappy about Mboweni’s remarks and would lodge a formal complaint against him over the comments.

The public protector’s acting spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said the president had already pronounced action against Mogajane and that it was strange for Mboweni to be “contradicting” the president.

“The public protector will be writing to the president and the Speaker to report ministers who tend to interfere in the functioning of her office in clear violation of section 181 of the Constitution.”

Mkhwebane said she also worried about how Mboweni’s view of her abilities would affect her funding.

By MARY JANE MPHAHLELE mary-jane.mphahlele@inl.co.za

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