Defend Truth


Alternate History Inc: Biblical Busisiwe Mkhwebane tearfully summons spirits of Winnie, Rosa Parks and Esther

Alternate History Inc: Biblical Busisiwe Mkhwebane tearfully summons spirits of Winnie, Rosa Parks and Esther
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Any ‘objective, fair and reasonable analysis’ of her tenure and what occurred led to one conclusion only: she was ‘not guilty’, Busisiwe Mkhwebane told the Section 194 committee on Wednesday.

In what has essentially become a political platform, suspended Public Protector (PP) Busisiwe Mkhwebane told the parliamentary Section 194 inquiry into her fitness to hold office that she was “not guilty” of charges that she alleged had been concocted by Ms [Natasha] Mazzone, DA, and supported by the ANC majority.

“On the contrary, I have taken the office of the PP to greater and unprecedented performance and governance issues pertaining to proper accountability.”



This was Mkhwebane’s moment in the spotlight, one she had said earlier she had been looking forward to. She has sat through nine months of testimony from more than 20 witnesses.

From the start she aimed her cannon, accusing the Democratic Alliance and the ANC of colluding to get rid of her, essentially, “for doing my work”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Busisiwe Mkhwebane claims probe nothing more than ANC and DA political witch-hunt for touching ‘untouchables’ ”

Addressing committee members as well as the public on online platforms and TV, Mkhwebane and her legal representative, advocate Dali Mpofu, hammered the point that she was a victim.

She was the target of a political campaign because she had dared to “touch the untouchables”, “capital”, said Mkhwebane, no doubt an oblique reference to her stealth-bomb Reserve Bank/CIEX report.

As a servant of the people, she had come across “raw state power” and “people with deep pockets” when she dared to investigate President Cyril Ramaphosa.

While she was being charged with “incompetence”, the country was dealing with up to eight hours a day of load shedding, to which Mpofu quipped: “Maybe you could go to Eskom?”

“I could make a difference,” she shot back, both possibly unaware of the tone-impaired in-joke.

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

About witnesses called to the inquiry — “disgruntled” employees whose evidence belonged in the labour court, according to Mpofu — they had “exonerated me of any impeachable wrongdoing in respect of any single one of the charges”.

It was like being in a parallel universe, as mounds of evidence, none of which was engaged with during the entire day, had been presented to the committee. But we leave that to the formidable evidence leader, advocate Nazreen Bawa, when she gets to bite the cherry in the coming days.

No court of law can possibly uphold a contrary finding which will inevitably be made by the current DA-ANC overwhelming majority in the committee,” said Mkhwebane on Wednesday.

“The impeachment effort is therefore doomed to fail if subjected to any fair judicial scrutiny,” she said, appearing to pre-empt the findings of the committee.

Biblical visions and Winnie Mandela

What had sustained her throughout the process, Mkhwebane told the inquiry, was her belief that she could not “betray my beliefs and my people because of the evil deeds and intentions of my detractors which requires me to stand firm in the face of adversity, guided by the spirit and ethos of other prosecuted women who came before me, including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Esther of biblical times, who famously stated that she would not look back on her mission to face the all-earthly ruler and powerful king”.

Quoting from the Book of Esther, Mkhwebane intimated that she too would “face the powerful face to face, only because the new land compels me to do so”.

The verse ends rather dramatically: “and if I perish, I perish. It is an essential requirement of my current office to conduct myself without fear, favour or prejudice. Therefore, I am not scared of anything or anybody.”

The State Security Agency (SSA) was treated like an “outcast”, she said, while it was “a constitutional institution” when asked about her employment there.

However, the High-Level Review Panel into the SSA, and the Zondo Commission of Inquiry, have found the agency was key to former president Jacob Zuma’s ability to capture the state.

But that is in the parallel universe called reality.

Read more in Daily Maverick: SSA’s off-the-books projects — capturing media, making R54m a year for Zuma, and much more

In her affidavit, Mkhwebane explained her time at the SSA from June 2016 where she had worked as a senior analyst. Her responsibilities included “advising the Director of the Domestic Branch on compliance to constitutional provisions whilst protecting the state actors, which are people, government, values, territory, legislation, and stakeholder relations”.

She held the post for three months before her appointment as Public Protector, which did not warrant the “slur” by the DA that she was a “spy”.

Tears for the country

Mpofu said that Mkhwebane, like her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, had faced a barrage of insults and abuse, but that he only witnessed her “breaking down” twice, while she had remained calm “when all the other people” had insulted her.

Mkhwebane struggled to hold back tears when stating that she felt she was facing impeachment for simply “doing my work” and that she “went all out for this country”.

Later, she said things were so bad that, “I used to joke sometimes, maybe I must apply for asylum in another country”, when all she was doing was “helping people”. For this, she charged, she had found herself “treated like this, maybe because of my colour”.

It does make a difference that you are of a particular colour and of a particular gender,” Mpofu said.

An entire day passed without Mkhwebane or Mpofu speaking directly to any of the evidence given in relation to the misconduct charges.

Instead, it was one long emotional download.

“With all this persecution, I have been labelled an enemy of the state by the Financial  Mail,” said Mkhwebane.

“This, when you are trying to uplift people when after generations and generations we still face the same challenges. Should you excel in your work, you will be vilified, you will be treated badly.” 

“A lot” of black professionals who were trying to “change the living conditions of the people” were being treated this way, she added.

Mkhwebane quoted former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng — he has often been conjured up during this inquiry — who stated that the PP was “the embodiment of a biblical David, that the public is, who fights the most powerful and very well-resourced Goliath, that impropriety and corruption by government officials are”.

The PP was “one of the true crusaders” and “champions of anti-corruption”. Her powers were so wide that “no level of government escaped scrutiny”.

The inquiry is set to continue at 10m on Thursday. DM




Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mark Brunner says:

    Oh for goodness sake! Get these oxygen thieves to move on so we can concentrate on fixing things broken by them and their ilk!

  • Easy Does It says:

    No this is why I did not tune in to listen live into the enquiry. I was rightly expecting the BS that went down to be aired. I may listen in today expecting MP’s to object if Dali wastes time on issues which have no value to the enquiry. Expect Dali to behave like a cry baby.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Slam dunk guilty. When all you can do is use race, gender, religion and victimhood as your defence, rather than objectivity and evidence, you’re guilty. Every. Single. Time.

  • Johan Fick says:

    Who is paying for all this nonsence?

  • Peter Slingsby says:

    Only one word for her and her lawyer – gaga

  • Kerry van Schalkwyk says:

    Oh Cry me a River! I want to vomit just listening to this delusional woman & her incompetent, arrogant counsel who, in the absence of any cogent, reasoned & focused argument, can only resort to the race & victim card. Anyone with half a brain cell can see what’s going on here & won’t fall for their utter nonsense. Delay, delay, delay – obfuscate the process as long as possible & trust that no one has the persistence or courage to see it through. I hope they are proven wrong!

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Her paranoia indicates a psychological problem.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    At a time when we have no credible government, less cash to run the country, a prez who sits on his hands or gets others to do it for him, we waste an inordinate amount of public cash on this diabolical circus. It is a total sham from start to finish. We all know the outcome. Get on with it.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    And, what does any of that have to do with the price of eggs.

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    I had to engage in serious channel changing to avoid this woman’s nauseating ramble.
    When I thought it was safe to go back the smug face of her defender was on
    The boring UK budget analysis was much more entertaining

  • Trevor Pope says:

    I wonder if her comparing herself with Mam Winnie extends to extracurricular activities with Dali Mpofu?

  • Confucious Says says:

    Anc defenses #1: Only guilty if caught! #2 I didn’t know! #3 It’s Jan’s fault! #4 Its not my responsibility #5 What was the question?

  • Ernest Esterhuizen says:

    She is a disgrace, shameless and has nerve. Focuses on all the cosmetic reasons why she should not be impeached instead of her in competence. Why can’t the committee bring this process to an end. By the time they are done, her term is legally up and she will have the satisfaction of having never been impeached.

  • Don Hunter says:

    Delusional! Her actions were clearly politically motivated, which makes her “witch hunt” claims ironic. But in the final summation it is her supreme incompetence that she needs to be held accountable for.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Get over it, move on with no “get out of jail free” card!

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Johan Fick asks who is paying for all this nonsense – you and me and all the other taxpayers that’s who!

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Oh my, this is so emotional – I do believe I’m tearing up. Is it joy possibly?

  • Marko V says:

    How are they allowed to stall and waffle on for a full day without addressing the charges?
    Just more of our taxpayer money wasted.

  • Lesley Young says:

    “Colour”?? “Gender”??? Did she totally miss her predecessor Thuli Madonsella’s performance? Becoming South Africa’s darling, calls for her to become the next President? Me’thinks the suspended pre-impeachment pp thought she should get the same respect no matter how badly she treated her staff and conducted her role.

  • Rudd van Deventer says:

    If She fails to address the charges she is not defending her actions. If the section 14 inquiry finds against her she only has herself and her lawyer to blame – and I guess that is too much to ask with this performance.
    BTW thank you Marianne for doing this reporting so that I do not have to endanger my health dealing with it!

  • Vas K says:

    I think this circus is coming mercifully to an end, the only cards left being the race card, tears and pathetic name dropping.

  • prifam1 says:

    Your peer review system for comments is ridiculous. I put in 1800 for the year. Never again

  • William Kelly says:

    I genuinely wonder if she is actually just playing us all for fools or whether she is that good at playing this game that she portrays herself as living in this little bubble all by herself. There is a song in there somewhere. However, if she is genuinely aware of the spin she is putting on all of this it makes her evil beyond redemption. If she is delusionally of the belief that she is a poor persecuted black woman and the victim here, it makes her in need of therapy. Frankly, with the levels of money at stake here I am falling on the side that she knows exactly what she is doing, and that like the rest of the cANCer this is someone who should be cut out from the taxpayer’s body and discarded into the proverbial petri dish for incineration.

  • William Dryden says:

    How can she align herself to Winnie Mandela, who was implicated in the murder of Stompie and stole money from her own NGO, shows one that birds of a feather flock together.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Otsile Nkadimeng - photo by Thom Pierce

A new community Actionist every week.

Meet the South Africans making a difference. Get Maverick Citizen in your inbox.