AfriForum calls on SAHRC boos to quit

AFRIFORUM today (June 2) called on advocate Lawrence Mushwana to quit as head of the SA Human Rights Commission saying his impartiality towards the ruling ANC had been placed in doubt following a recent Supreme Court of Appeals finding.

On Monday the court set aside a report by Mushwana — who was then the Public Protector — on an investigation into the misappropriation of public funds by PetroSA in the so-called Oilgate saga.

Alana Baily, AfriForum’s deputy chief executive, said: “Adv Lawrence Mushwana should resign as Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission.” This was in response to the court’s findings that the probe into the Oilgate matter had been “so half-hearted and superficial, that in effect no investigation had been made at all”.

AfriForum will ask the current protector adv Thuli Madonsela to launch a new investigation into the Oilgate scandal.

The scandal broke when the Mail&Guardian reported that South Africa’s state oil company, PetroSA, irregularly paid R15 million to Imvume Management, a company closely tied to the ANC, at a time when the party was desperate for election funds.

The Mail&Guardian brought review proceedings against public protector Mushwana in the High Court in Pretoria after the release of the report in July 2005.

The newspaper asked for orders setting aside the report and instructing the protector to investigate and report afresh.

While the SCA granted the former order, it did not grant the latter, with Judge Robert Nugent saying it was not the courts place to “supplant the public protector by directing with precision what is required for a proper investigation”.

On Mushwana’s investigation, Nugent said: “The manner in which he then went about investigating the remainder narrowed it even further. In the end there was in truth no investigation of the substance of the various complaints.”

Bailey said: “The fact that Adv Mushwana in his capacity as Public Protector had evidently protected the ANC, raises serious questions about the impartiality of the HRC. In the past AfriForum had lodged several complaints with the HRC which have not received any attention at all. This already creates doubts about the objectivity and the functionality of the HRC.”

SAHRC spokesman Vincent Moaga said Mushwana needed more time to review the judgment before he would comment.

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