Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Wednesday that she would lodge a formal complaint against finance minister Tito Mboweni over his comments on her finding against the Treasury’s director-general.
She added that she was unhappy with comments made by Mboweni over her investigation into the criminal record of Dondo Mogajane‚ who was found to have lied in his application for the post of DG.
SowetanLIVE reported that Mboweni intended to take Mkhwebane’s findings against Mogajane – who failed to disclose a criminal conviction when applying for the job – on judicial review.
Mkhwebane said in a statement that she wanted to “register her disquiet” about the comments.
(Sowetan’s sister publication) TimesLIVE on Wednesday quoted Mr Mboweni as appearing to be trivialising the serious matter of dishonesty on the part of the director-general in the National Treasury‚ Mr Dondo Mogajane. Adv Mkhwebane would like to stress the point that this was not merely a ‘traffic fine’ as suggested by Mr Mboweni and other critics‚ but a conviction by a court of law.
“The conviction ought to have been disclosed‚ given that the government Z83 form‚ which is used to gather information about prospective employees‚ explicitly probes if applicants have a criminal record‚ a question to which the applicants are required to respond with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. In response to this question‚ Mr Mogajane replied with a ‘no’‚ despite having been made aware previously that this kind of conduct amounted to dishonesty on his part.
“The President [Cyril Ramaphosa] has already pronounced that he is taking action in this matter. It is therefore strange that the minister appears to be contradicting the president‚” said Mkhwebane.
She added that she would be writing to Ramaphosa and National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete to “report ministers who interfere with the functioning of her office in violation of the constitution”.
Mkhwebane said she was also worried how Mboweni’s view of her abilities would affect her funding.
“Adv Mkhwebane is concerned that‚ given the reports that the minister has ‘no confidence’ in her‚ and she has made an adverse finding against the director-general‚ her repeated requests for more resources to bolster her investigative capacity might not bear fruit‚ much to the detriment of members of the public who do not have the financial muscle to litigate against the state and instead rely on her office to vindicate their rights.”