Under fire public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane appears to have succumbed to pressure from MPs: she has confirmed that she will launch a new probe into the role played by politicians in the Gupta-linked Vrede dairy farm project. However, Mkhwebane defended her decision to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal to overturn the R1m personal costs order related to the Absa-Bankorp case. "As MPs, I need your support to perform my functions without fear or favour, and prejudice. Such a judgment on personal costs [will have an impact] on the independence of the public protector and instils fear, stifling her from doing her work," she said. Mkhwebane sought to emphasise that her office lacked capacity and needed more funding. It needed R870m over the medium term. She said the office was so stretched that it had requested assistance from other government departments, including the State Security Agency. MPs described this as a major concern as the office of the public protector often handled v...

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