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EFF and Public Protector unite again over “Rastafarian” controversy

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Both the EFF and the Public Protector have formed something of an alliance recently, after the PP’s report recommending remedial action against Pravin Gordhan encountered a severe backlash. The red berets have even offered their lawyers to assist Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and now, a Rastafarian source who features in the report has united them once more.

Who is the Rastafarian in the Public Protector’s report?

A story printed by the Sunday Times prompted outrage over the weekend. The article, which discredits a former SARS employee who was allegedly part of the now-infamous Rogue Unit, claims that Keletso Bizoski Manyike told author Jacques Pauw that he knew about the group, despite him being pegged as a specialist agent.

In a 28 000-word report, Manyike is mentioned extremely scarcely. But the publication decided to zone in on the “dope-smoking Rastafarian” (their words, not ours) as the evidence he has supplied now comes into question.

EFF lash out at the Sunday Times, Jacques Pauw

However, not everyone is on board with Pauw’s research. The writer of The President’s Keepers has been attacked by the EFF on Sunday, whereas the Sunday Times got their own ear-bashing from the Public Protector.

In a fiercely-worded statement, the EFF dismissed the article as “biased, false and propagandist”. They launched a scathing attack on the paper for “trying to deceive their readers”, saying that they purposefully framed the report to make it look like Manyike’s evidence was some sort of smoking gun.

Predictably, they didn’t stop there. The party dug into a pretty damning conspiracy about Jacques Pauw, claiming that he and the implicated Pravin Gordhan have a very cosy relationship. They accuse the writer of convincing other publications in South Africa to withhold any damning critiques of the Rogue Unit, or Gordhan himself.

Public Protector defends Rastafarian evidence-giver

Mkhwebane’s office, meanwhile, was infuriated by the way that Manyike was portrayed by the paper. They believe that the witness has been discriminated against because of his religious beliefs:

“We won’t lend credence to propaganda by commenting on desperate attempts to discredit our report. we did meet with Mr. Manyike on two occasions. Further, facts of law-breaking speak for themselves, are incontrovertible and stand there unshakeable.”

“Lastly, our reports are reviewed only in court, not in newspapers: Everyone has the right to freedom of religion. No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on the grounds of religion. Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected.”

Public Protector

Of course, in the interest of fair comment, Jacques Pauw has also responded to the criticism on Sunday evening:

(Source: The South African)

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