Busisiwe Mkhwebane denies pressing charges against Thuli Madonsela
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has denied a report that she has pressed charges against her predecessor Thuli Madonsela.
Mkhwebane was commenting on a report by the Sunday Times on Sunday which said the basis for the "charges" was the alleged leak of an audio recording of a meeting between Madonsela and President Jacob Zuma.
The interview was held as part of the state capture investigation.
"It is not true that Mkhwebane laid charges against her predecessor. Instead‚ she opened a case at the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria‚ requesting an investigation into the alleged leaks to establish if they amount to a breach of section 7(2) of the Public Protector Act‚" the public protector’s spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi, said in a statement.
Masibi said the decision to open a case was informed by complaints from the Presidency and the office of the speaker of the National Assembly.
"In addition to these‚ Mkhwebane received a media inquiry from Noseweek magazine‚ in which the publication claimed to be in possession of a recording of her predecessor’s meeting with Ms Mentor‚ also relating to the ‘state capture’ investigation," Masibi said, referring to former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, who was interviewed for Madonsela’s report.
The Sunday Times reported that Mkhwebane had said Mentor had laid a complaint about Madonsela. Several media outlets have since quoted Mentor denying that.
Protecting trust in the protector
Masibi said in Monday’s statement that Mkhwebane was concerned that these alleged leaks of evidence could compromise the trust that the public has in her office. It was this concern that led to her opening a case for investigation.
"In order to maintain the credibility of the public protector and for the people to trust the institution, we need to safeguard whatever evidence such people‚ including whistle-blowers‚ give to us‚" Mkhwebane said.