Amid mounting calls for Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane to step down after Friday’s damning report from the public protector, President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will study the report into his political ally and believes this is a matter that “has to be looked at closely”.
Ramaphosa on Saturday was quizzed on the report by journalists while he was on the campaign trail in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal.
“I haven’t seen the report myself, I’ve just read about it in the media. And clearly, it’s a matter that has to be looked at closely, to be studied [and] put under consideration,” the president said.
Several opposition parties, including the Congress of the People (Cope), the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM), have called for Mabuyane to resign, but the premier said he would challenge the report in court.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s found that Mabuyane irregularly benefitted from a R1.1 million tender that was meant for the memorial service of late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Mbizana in 2018.
Mabuyane personally benefited R450, 000 that was used to renovate his house while he was the Eastern Cape’s MEC for Economic Development.
The ANC also allegedly benefitted from the pilfering, with R280,000 being deposited into the governing party’s bank account.
Among her recommendations, the public protector said the Hawks should investigate the matter further with a view of prosecuting the case.
She also asked the speaker of the Mbizana Local Municipality council to take urgent steps within 60 days to ensure disciplinary action is taken against officials involved in the matter.
Additional reporting by Earl Coetzee