South Africa News

Helen Zille to review #PublicProtector’s report

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says she will take Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane’s report, which accused her violating the constitution, on full review.

In a statement released a few hours after Mkhwebane issued her report, Zille said Mkhwebane “reflected her severely limited understanding of the constitution and the law” and as such she will taking the report for review in court.

Mkkwebane found that Zille violated the Executive Ethics Code when she helped her son, who was a Maths teacher in Khayelitsha, loan school tablets from the Western Cape Province’s education department to assist Grade 12 learners with extra Maths lessons.

She said the premier’s involvement in her son accessing the tablets results in hr exposure to a risk of conflict of interest in her official responsibilities.
;The premier’s involvement in the process that has resulted in securing access to the tablets in question by her son, and in the acquiring of son’s company’s services and resources, has exposed her to the risk of a conflict between her official responsibilities, as a first citizen of the province, and private interests, which involved her son,” Mkhwebane said.

Helen Zille
This conduct of the premier has consequently resulted in the violation of her constitutional obligation to avoid exposure to the aforesaid risk,” she said.

Zille has denied that there was any conflict and has said she took the necessary steps to avoid any conflict of interest.

“I reject out of hand that: there was any conflict of interest between my public role as Premier and the fact that I supported my son, a mathematics teacher in Khayelitsha at the time, to borrow equipment of the Western Cape Education Department in order to run free matric preparation workshops in disadvantaged schools; and Insofar as there may have been a perception of a conflict of interest, I fulfilled the requirements of the law in mitigating it,” she said.

Zille said she would not have done anything differently with regards to how she handled the matter.

“I wish to stress that if I faced the same situation today, as I did then, in 2014, I would do exactly the same because it was the right thing to do. The Director General of the Province, Advocate Brent Gerber, would also do the same thing again because it was entirely lawful, constitutional, and appropriate in the circumstances,” she said.

In her remedial action, Mkhwebane has ordered that the speaker of the Western Cape legislature should take the necessary steps to hold Zille accountable within 30 days. She also ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to submit his comment on the report within 14 days.

“Apart from the legal errors in the report, part of the remedial action proposed is also unlawful. This is another reason why I will take the report on a full review,” Zille said.

Source: IOL