Newly-appointed public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she owes nobody a favour and would investigate any case against anybody, including the president of the country.
She said she belonged to no political party and owed her allegiance only to the country’s constitution and rule of law.
Mkhwebane said she felt humbled and elated to be ascending to the critical Chapter 9 institution, and was ready to do her work without fear or favour, continuing where Thuli Madonsela left off.
She assumes office on Monday.
Mkhwebane said she wanted a cordial relationship with the ANC and other parties, and noted that it was “so unfortunate” that Madonsela had suffered attacks for doing her work.
“I think it is a question of communication, it is a question of approach, of how we do our investigations; and if there are those reckless allegations it is a question of making sure that we get to the root of the allegations. People must just provide evidence,” Mkhwebane said.
Asked if she thought she owed Zuma any allegiance for her appointment, Mkhwebane said: “No, not at all. I am still saying my allegiance is to the constitution, not to any person. I don’t owe any person any favour, on that one I am quite clear.
“If there is anything or any complaint lodged against the president . I mean there is Nkandla which was lodged against the president, the Gupta matter or state capture . therefore the office will investigate any impropriety in state affairs.”
She said the ongoing investigation into “state capture” was one of many cases that would need to be prioritised.
” … I said I would be prioritising old cases, especially the backlog. That’s what I will prioritise. We don’t want to be subjecting people to undue delay.
“So state capture is one of the cases that one will be doing. Thuli is busy finalising it and I will still see what needs to be done in that particular case.”
Madonsela informed Zuma of the probe into his suspected breach of the Executive Ethics Code on March 22 2016.
In a statement issued by Madonsela’s office late yesterday, Zuma is said to have asked the probe to be deferred to Mkhwebane and that “there was no reason for the investigation to be prioritised”.
“The president and his advisers further advised that the president had not had time to prepare answers with legal advice, given the investigation time lines,” the statement read.