Home South African Fearing for her life, public protector dumps public engagements

Fearing for her life, public protector dumps public engagements

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she won’t make physical appearances until the outcome of a police investigation after a man allegedly threatened to kill her

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

PUBLIC Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has dumped some of her public engagements after a man allegedly threatened to assassinate her last week.

Fearing for her life, Mkhwebane says that she will avoid physical engagements where necessary and only do virtual meetings because she was being targeted.

“I was supposed to go to Tshwane North College to address them on gender-based violence (GBV) and mental health, but I could not go until we know the outcome of the police investigation,” Mkhwebane said.

This comes after an Eastern Cape man allegedly contacted her office numerous times, alerting it that he was “coming” for Mkhwebane.

According to her, the man indicated that they were supposed to travel from the Eastern Cape to Gauteng on Monday, August 16.

At the time, Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said a man claimed a price was put on the public protector’s head.

“An Eastern Cape man contacted the office several times on Friday, August 20, claiming that hitmen were hired to carry out the hit. He did not say why. The claim has been brought to the attention of the SAPS VIP protection unit for investigation,” said Segalwe.

A senior investigator in the public protector’s office is still battling for his life after being shot by an unknown assailant while he was sitting in his car.

Segalwe said the investigator was hit several times in the lower body and underwent an operation. The attacker did not demand money, his valuables or the car.

The national chairperson of the EFF, Ntombovuyo Mente, condemned the threats levelled at the public protector and called for the police to urgently investigate.

“These threats must be condemned with the highest contempt it deserves. We can’t have a public protector being harassed and intimidated in a quest to let go of criminals and capitalists who are holding both the government and our country at ransom.

“She is a Chapter 9 and deserves a proper police analysis of the threat and be provided with all the protection she deserves. We can’t have a situation in this democratic dispensation where a public protector, and worse a woman in a position of power representing poor people and strengthening democracy, being harassed like that.”

Mente said the government must protect Mkhwebane, if not the next time it would be another woman in a position of power such as the auditor-general.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday) it’s going to be the AG and then we won’t have Chapter 9 that’s focusing on holding the state and entities accountable if this criminal practice is left unattended. Our country will go straight to the dogs. It’s even disgusting that she receives such calls.

“With these horrible stories of GBV we hear, we still have a government that has not immediately responded to this incident and she must seek help from the public through a spokesperson is even unbelievable,” said Mente.

Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed that Silverton police were investigating a case of attempted murder.

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