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Mkhwebane returns to enquiry, says she is being targeted for doing her job

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Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane returned to the parliamentary committee investigating her fitness for office to testify that she was being targeted ‘for just doing her job’.

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during her testimony on Tuesday. Picture: Screenshot

CAPE TOWN – Suspended Public Protector (PP) Busisiwe Mkhwebane returned to the parliamentary committee investigating her fitness for office to testify that she was being targeted just because she was doing her job as prescribed by the Constitution.

Mkhwebane, who had been away from the hearings for a week due to an unspecified illness, was answering questions from her lead counsel advocate Dali Mpofu, who began his questions by revisiting the issue of the CR17/Bosasa investigation and report.

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On Tuesday, Mkhwebane told the committee that although she had done nothing differently in the CR17 investigation than her predecessor Thuli Madonsela had done in her investigation into state capture, she was being held to a different standard.

“I am being targeted for doing my work,” she said.

Mkhwebane charged that the media had pushed a narrative that she was incompetent and had manufactured consent in the public’s mind that they were right. She said sometimes it seemed to her that whatever she did, she was judged to be wrong.

“Maybe the next public protector will not be treated like I was. It is so painful to be subjected to this inquiry, when I was just doing my work,” Mkhwebane said.

The report and investigation by the Office of the Public Protector refers to the 2017 donor funding campaign for President Cyril Ramaphosa who was then ANC deputy president.

The funds were to aid his quest to become president of the ANC. In her investigation, Mkhwebane found that there was “prima facie” evidence that CR17 (the campaign) was involved in money-laundering because of the movement of campaign money into various accounts.

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The courts, however, ruled that money-laundering must involve the proceeds of crime and that no evidence existed that this was the case in relation to CR17 donations.

Mkhwebane said she did not believe Ramaphosa’s version of events in the matter, based on the evidence before her at the time.

She said she had conducted the investigation with an open mind and had not approached the case with the intent to find wrongdoing, but only went where the evidence led.

Mkhwebane said she did not base her investigation on media reports, but conceded that the media reports regarding the CR17 and Bosasa issue had led her to some of the evidence she found.

Senior counsel Dali Mpofu. Picture: Screenshot

Mpofu again read out minority Constitutional Court judgments including one by former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in order to argue that Mkhwebane was right in her findings in the CR17/Bosasa report.

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He said Mkhwebane’s legal team and the committee’s evidence leaders had established at the start of the hearings in July last year that they had different approaches to the issue of court judgments against Mkhwebane.

Mpofu said while the evidence leaders saw these judgments as binding, he and his team saw them as being available for scrutiny, but that the resolution of this point would be tackled in the legal arguments at the end of the inquiry.

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