Tuesday marked four years after our iconic president, Nelson Mandela, passed away.
It was fitting that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the abuse of public funds in the preparation of Mandela’s funeral was published that day in the media.
The public has been kept in the dark about this matter for too long, but the release of her report is testimony that the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind finely.
It was not long ago that I was suspended from the Eastern Cape Legislature without salary for one month for asking questions about how director-general Marion Mbina-Mthembu saw fit to transfer R250 000 into premier Phumulo Masualle’s personal bank account and what steps were to be taken against her for this blatant infraction of the prescripts of the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act).
My legislature question was altered without my express permission.
When I challenged this and the legislature processes, I was referred to the ethics committee, who found me guilty of misconduct.
I subsequently challenged this sanction in court and the state (premier and legislature’s legal representation) settled the case out of court on the day scheduled to hear the matter.
Nothing has happened to anyone involved or responsible for this infraction since the outcome of the said court case.
This shows the brazen attitude of impunity that is all too often espoused by politicians and senior officials in hegemonic administration, where the opposition is treated with arrogant disdain.
I am delighted that the questions I was raising then and was challenged for doing so are now being raised by the public protector.
I pray that they will be investigated and fully prosecuted.
I also commit the administration of Nelson Mandela Bay to fully investigate all the issues referred to us by the public protector’s report.
The report is an important departure from blind condonation and shows that we will not tolerate the abuse of scarce public resources driven in the so-called name of someone as iconic as Madiba.
No one is entitled to steal public money under any circumstances. Viva democracy. Viva accountability. Theft will not be tolerated under any circumstances.