New public protector provokes wrath of MPs

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane the new Public Protector Picture: MOELETSI MABE
Public protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane 

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has clashed with MPs after suggesting that her predecessor Thuli Madonsela be dropped from a list of witnesses in parliament’s inquiry into the SABC board.

Mkhwebane also provoked the wrath of MPs from across the political spectrum for suggesting that her officials could only appear in camera before the ad hoc committee probing the SABC board’s affairs.

In a letter to deputy National Assembly Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, Mkhwebane demands “what precedence” parliament was setting by calling Madonsela to testify when she was no longer public protector.

Mkhwebane’s spat with MPs comes amid suggestions that she is a pliable public protector, following a Sunday Times report at the weekend that she had asked police to investigate Madonsela for leaking recordings related to her state capture report after President Jacob Zuma laid a complaint.

In the letter, tabled before the ad hoc committee yesterday, Mkhwebane tells MPs that investigative reports by Madonsela as public protector are the “sole property” of her office.

She wanted the committee to say why it wanted Madonsela.

She also told the committee she was unavailable, and was sending three officials who could only appear in camera.

But ad hoc committee chairman Vincent Smith (ANC) has replied to Mkhwebane that her request was against the National Assembly’s Rule 170A. Opposition MPs took a harder line, and Phumzile van Damme (DA) she was very worried by Mkhwebane’s letter.

The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: “Parliament is her boss, finish and klaar.”

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