Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that former minister of state security, David Mahlobo, cannot be found of wilfully misleading Parliament following his comments about his relationship with one of the #FeesMustFall leaders Mcebo Dlamini.
Both the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance launched a complaint with the Public Protector against Mahlobo for violating the Executive Members Ethics Act.
Deputy Chief Whip of the DA, Mike Waters, claimed the former minister deliberately misled Parliament about his relationship with Dlamini.
Commenting on the arrest of the fees must fall activists during a panel discussion, hosted by the Institute for Security Studies last year, Mahlobo said “I happen to know Mcebo. He has been to my house several times.”
Two days later Mahlobo responded to a question from DA MP Belinda Bozzoli in Parliament and stated that Dlamini has never been to his house.
In her report Mkhwebane said Mahlobo did not intend to mislead Parliament in his response.
The DA said it isn’t surprised that the Public Protector absolved Mahlobo from these complaints “despite overwhelming and irrefutable evidence”.
The Public Protector report also stated that “Mahlobo’s response in the National Assembly favours an interpretation that it related specifically to whether Dlamini met with him at his residence to discuss the student protest.”
Waters said that “it is shocking because the Public Protector is supposed to protect the people but instead protects the state.”
Spokesperson for the Public Protector, Cleopatra Mosana said that the DA “is being malicious and spiteful”.
She claimed the party was given time to respond to the findings but didn’t.
“If [they] don’t give further evidence what else can you do?”
In a statement earlier this year Mosana said, “Instead of DA responding to the Public Protector’s provisional closing report, Mr Mike Waters published the aforesaid provisional report and issued a media statement.”
Waters maintains Mahlobo is clearly guilty.
“Parliament cannot fulfil its oversight mandate if members of the executive are not held accountable,” he said.