Home South African Public Protector says she is being ‘sabotaged’

Public Protector says she is being ‘sabotaged’

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Busisiwe Mkhwebane has accused some colleagues in her office of “working with certain people”, leaking confidential information, sabotaging her office and interfering with her work

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Screengrab/African News Agency (ANA)

PUBLIC Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has accused some colleagues in her office of “working with certain people”, leaking confidential information, sabotaging her office and interfering with her work.

“Some court cases my office has lost are as a result of a few people within my office deliberately hiding information from me and secretly meeting with some parliamentarians in an effort to remove me from office,” Mkhwebane told Independent Media.

“In one instance two of these individuals hid evidence and I signed a report because I was unaware something was missing. When taken on review and accused of hiding some rule 53 record, wanting personal costs against me, they told counsel that the matter is reviewable.”

She claimed she was being punished for the work conducted by people deliberately misrepresenting her, and that they did so because they were working with those who wanted her out.

“There appears to be a concerted effort to tarnish my name and it is unfair that my successful cases are not being reported by the media,“ she said.

Last year, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled Mkhwebane’s findings that Minister Pravin Gordhan established an illegal Sars unit had no sound legal basis. Last Friday, the high court also rejected Mkhwebane’s appeal bid to challenge the 15% personal cost order granted against her.

Democracy in Action leader Thabo Mtsweni said they would continue supporting Mkhwebane because they understood the importance of a fearless Public Protector who did her work “even when others make it difficult for her to hold the executive accountable”.

“She is surrounded by the enemy because she has touched the untouchable. We appreciate her work, thus we intend to raise funds for her to pay her legal costs as ordered by the court.”

Earlier in May, addressing the general meeting of the Black Lawyers Association in Limpopo, Mkhwebane complained of being unfairly criticised for being in cahoots with so-called factions of the governing party. It was not within her personal knowledge which ANC politicians belonged to which faction; her office staff only learnt that from the media, she said.

Since she took office in 2016, she has made adverse findings across the purported factional divide where evidence of wrongdoing existed.

“The findings included President Cyril Ramaphosa, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, former ministers Lynne Brown and Des van Rooyen and ANC national executive committee member Malusi Gigaba,” she said.

Mkhwebane said she had also made unfavourable findings against suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

“If factions exist, then I clearly belong to no one because I have never favoured politicians and protected them from taking responsibility for any wrongdoing.”

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