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Mkhwebane sticks to her guns: ‘If I failed, then only God can remove me’

2019-06-09 14:25

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has stuck to her guns amid robust criticism of her work, vowing that she will not relinquish the reins at the chapter 9 institution.

She has said that “coordinated attacks” were directed at her office “from every angle”.

Addressing a South African Sheriff Society event in Mpumalanga on Friday, Mkhwebane said the Public Protector’s office was being vilified, “insulted and subjected to unfair media reporting”.

“I know some of you may not be Christian, but I strongly believe I was placed in this position by the God that I serve and I believe that only He can remove me if He is of the view that I have failed,” said Mkhwebane.

Earlier in the week she took to social media platform YouTube to post two videos defending her announcement that she served Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan with a section 7, subsection 9 notice, and also outlined the various cases she has against him.

On Friday she took it further, addressing all the issues which did not sit well with her.

She has received some flak over the timing of her announcement that she had found Gordhan guilty of improper conduct regarding a payout for former SA Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement.

She was accused by her detractors of playing politics and attempting to undermine the clean-up operation being undertaken by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “new dawn” administration as well as the public enterprises department.

Some even suggested that she was attempting to influence the president to not appoint Gordhan as minister, because the announcement was made just days before the ministerial appointments.

She also sent shock waves through the political scene when, just days after being slammed for issuing a section 7(9) notice to Gordhan, she issued another notice – this time to Ramaphosa.

She is understood to have issued the notice in order to get the president to provide answers regarding a R500 000 donation made by Bosasa (African Global Operations) ahead of the 2017 Nasrec elective conference of the ANC.

Said Mkhwebane: “Complaints under the Executive Members’ Ethics Act can only be received from members of the executive, members of Parliament and members of the provincial legislature on suspected breaches of the executive code of ethics.

“It was under this law that I found that former ministers Lynne Brown, Des van Rooyen and Malusi Gigaba misled Parliament and thus breached the executive code of ethics.

“It is this piece of legislation I’m relying on in the investigation of whether the president misled Parliament in contravention of the executive code of ethics when he was answering questions about his Bosasa donation,” said Mkhwebane.

She insisted that she was not “part of governing party factional battles” and that such allegations were meant to taint the image of her office.

“I am yet to be furnished with evidence to prove my involvement,” said Mkhwebane.

She added that she had been personally targeted with “threats of arrest for money laundering” and that she may be investigated for the “poisoning” of her late husband since she “started investigating the so-called rogue unit”.

The Public Protector said this would not deter her. She added that she did “not lose sleep over all this noise” because she was proud of the office’s record thus far under her leadership.

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July 21 2019