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Busisiwe Mkhwebane claims probe nothing more than ANC and DA political witch-hunt for touching ‘untouchables’

Busisiwe Mkhwebane claims probe nothing more than ANC and DA political witch-hunt for touching ‘untouchables’
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during impeachment proceedings in Parliament on 1 March 2023. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made a long-awaited appearance at her impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, blaming the ANC and the DA for her predicament.

‘It has nothing to do with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa or the rule of law,” she told the committee.

The process was, she added, “as far removed from the Constitution as the south is from the north. It is a politically motivated witch-hunt masquerading as a bona fide enquiry under the auspices of section 194 of the Constitution. It is not.”

The hearing was also “a racially motivated campaign borne out of the fear of real change which might actually benefit the poorest and most marginalised members of the public, who are in the main black, at the expense of those who benefit the most from an the expense of those who benefit the most from an untransformed economic status quo, who are in the main white and the backbone constituency of the DA”.

Political statement made. Thank you very much.

There was no mention, however, at this stage, of how the poor beneficiaries of the Gupta Vrede Dairy money laundering scheme benefited from Mkhwebane’s report, which initially withheld the names of Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane. The courts later set aside that report.

In that instance it was the DA leader at the time, Mmusi Maimane, who challenged Mkhwebane on the matter. We’ll get to CIEX, the “rogue unit” and CR-17 reports which have landed her in the hot seat.

Her impeachment process was, she added, a “vanity Special Project of the Democratic Alliance aimed at scoring political points as the first party to have ever caused a head of the Chapter 9 institution to face impeachment proceedings. This process has nothing to do with accountability.”

Everyone is in cahoots

Mkhwebane lashed out at NGOs such as the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution and Freedom Under Law, which “should be helping and working with the Public Protector to deal with the marginalised and not taking me to court. They are in cahoots with the DA to deal with me.”

When it came to what she termed “high-profile matters” – the CR-17 funding report, the “ruling” (ahem, we prefer governing) party, the ANC, had assisted the DA in trying to “punish me for doing my work as prescribed in the Constitution”. 

“To do my work without fear or favour”.

The ANC, she charged, had been motivated by “retaliation and revenge” because of “this investigation against the President and the evidence which was honestly received and dealt with against the existing laws”. 

She told the committee that this is what had led to her “hasty” suspension by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Her encountering “raw state power” (as former Chief Justice Mogoeng Moegeng termed it) was what has led to this persecution, she told the committee.

Long walk to impeachment

Mkhwebane gave some light background into how she found herself up for the job back in 2016. She did not mention specifically her employment with the SSA as an “analyst” prior to this.

“One of the staff members of Home Affairs approached me to apply,” she recalled.

She said that before her parliamentary interview her late mother had asked her why she would apply for a job as she had seen “how they have treated Thuli Madonsela”.

“I don’t think you want to be treated like that, she said. A lot of my peers also said, ‘you don’t want to be subjected to that’.”

Nevertheless, her burning desire “to serve the public” is what motivated her in the end, she said.

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She only found out about the job watching television with her grandson who had told her “gogo, that is you” when her face flashed up on the screen.

“I used to work in human rights-related issues, I would want to help the public. Being in a career and a person who can help in that space,” she said is what kept her going.

Calling her predecessor, Madonsela, to testify, she told the committee, was so that she could set out what she had gone through, the struggle and the threats of being in office.

“There was a question that some of the members asked of how members of the justice committee used to insult her [Madonsela]. I thought she would understand the position I am in today and also help members of the committee.”

Read in Daily Maverick:Rumble in Room M46 – Metaphorical blood on the floor with Thuli Madonsela vs Dali Mpofu

Instead it turned into a metaphorical bloodbath where Madonsela stuck clinically and coolly to the law. Nothing, she said, was ever personal.

Mkhwebane said she had gained fulfilment from those cases where the poor and the marginalised had been helped by her office.

Her political slip showing, she told committee members: “The Constitution is there for the poor and the marginalised, and not only to make a few enjoy it. I must indicate to you, you can exonerate yourselves, some of the members, ask yourselves: is this the way we should be treating this institution and which our forefathers said would help in liberating the poor and marginalised?”

Mkhwebane quoted Nelson Mandela’s comments that the Public Protector was there to “represent the public”.

And those were the investigations her office had been doing.

The inquiry continues. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Peter Smith says:

    Ah, the wokeness of it. I am the victim of these evil scheming people. She seems to be Meghan Markle and Harry Windsor rolled into one. Left out of this narrative is the immense power of the institution that she commanded. But what did she do with this power? She squandered it in the blind pursuit of ideological prejudice harnessed to complete incompetence. A string of defeats in the courts followed. She is so bad that even the ANC have turned against her. Now that is BAD.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    Again, zero accountability whatsoever. Instead, the victim goes into denial overdrive and conveniently leaves out all the damning aspects of her shocking tenure as the PP.

  • Mike Waghorn says:

    Well Madam PP,bring the evidence to back all you are saying. Otherwise ……..

  • Bradley Welcome says:

    Oh happy day. The ANC & DA are finally aligned.
    We sorely need new script writers for these types of proceedings. The witch hunt story line has been worn to death I think.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Just because you’re paranoid does not mean everybody is not out to get you.

    Her basic problem is how to counter the very long list of with-costs awards of cases that people brought against her findings. Appealed lost, appealed lost. If the PP had a scorecard she would be 0 for 20.

  • Pieter Malan says:

    Who chose this lady from a list of very competent applications I wonder. Will the committee please rise and explain.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    If ever any body still thought that Mkhwebane is competent to serve as Public Protector, this last utterance from her has finally showed that she is not. I mean, the PP has to be a jurist, and jurists’ job includes withstanding the temptation to blame conspiracies when the pressure is on.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Mkhwebane is obviously so indoctrinated that she is completely unable to see either the Constitution, OR the new SA dispensation, OR the law for what it is. I only hope that the Committee will complete its job soon and make a recommendation, so SA can get rid of her and appoint a worthy PP. I must say that it seems the acting PP is not doing such a bad job at all. Parliament would do well to consider HER for the job.

  • Easy Does It says:

    This is truly a double edged sword. On the one hand, Busi is tainted by judgements against her and her obvious bias towards Jacob and the RET. On the other hand she has Dali to defend her and he had no credibility to speak of before taking this case. He attempted to drag this enquiry into the gutter has been an obvious failure. I honestly believe that Dali has some serious psychological problems and needs medical help. The LPC if it is mandated should seriously put in an intervention to get him help if at all possible. Apart from dragging the good name of advocates into the gutter, Dali behaves like a frightened helpless kid lashing out when caught on the back foot or put under any pressure.

  • graemes says:

    To think that we “The Tax Payer are footing a substantial part of her legal fees for this circus. When in doubt and faced with accusations of and or facts evidencing gross incompetence it is all to easy to play the race card or the victim card! The cross examination by the evidence leader Adv Bawa will be interesting as she can probe Adv Mkwebane proven incompetence based on a long list of court judgements and cost orders against her. This will be very interesting reality TV indeed!

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