Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has asked the Bhisho High Court to interdict the Hawks’ investigation against him, calling it “unconstitutional/invalid”.
Newzroom Afrika reports that the premier also wants the unit to hand over all the evidence they have in their possession to him.
According to the news channel, Mabuyane claimed in court papers that the Hawks were being used to conduct a political witchhunt by his opponents within the African National Congress (ANC).
Mabuyane has been in the firing line after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s latest report into “allegations of corruption, maladministration or misuse of public funds by senior and executive Eastern Cape government officials and the Mbizana Local Municipality”, released on Friday, found that Mabuyane allegedly pocketed R450,000 from money set aside for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s memorial service in Mbizana in 2018.
The money allegedly went into the account of Allan Morran Design Architectural Services, to pay for renovations at Mabuyane’s private residence.
While the premier denied any knowledge of the payment, Mkhwebane’s report says evidence was found that his wife advised the business owner of Allan Morran Design through an email that the money was to be used for renovations to their private house.
The public protector has recommended that the Hawks investigate the matter further.
Mabuyane has since questioned Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office and said that South Africans need to be “protected” from her incompetence.
“The public protector has missed an opportunity to be a public protector. I think the public needs to be protected from her as a public protector,” Mabuyane said on Sunday during the ANC’s election campaign trail in the Eastern Cape.
He also said his lawyers would file court papers this week challenging Mkhwebane’s report because he believes that she was biased towards him.
“I’m taking that report for review on substantive grounds as well as on technical grounds,” Mabuyane said.
“As I was listening to the report being tabled, I never saw that report [and] I only received it at 4pm [on Friday] when she had already delivered it.
“Generally there are issues about how she behaves and conducts herself but we are going for a review, that’s the decision [and] lawyers are filing papers,” he added.
Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe