Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Official Photo: 05/10/2016

Hawks slam public protector for ‘courting unnecessary publicity’

The Hawks were not too happy with Mkhwebane’s recent outbursts.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Official Photo: 05/10/2016

The Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation) has hit back at Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane following her recent outbursts.

On Tuesday, Mkhwebane held a press briefing where she dished out the dirt on those who, in her view, are out to get her. Mkhwebane has challenged Parliament’s decision to adopt the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) motion to remove her from the Chapter 9 institution.

Public protector loses it in scathing rant

She had some words for Thandi Modise, calling her ethics into question for announcing her decision to initiate the process for her removal before informing her.

“I want to stress the point that I am not against scrutiny. All I am asking for is fairness. This office and that of the Speaker of the National Assembly too are the guardians of fairness, and should be exemplary,” she said.

She also criticised the Hawks for prioritising trivial matters such as the perjury inquests that were lodged, in August 2019, by Accountability Now and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

Mkhwebane stressed that her focus is on assisting the impoverished and voiceless South Africans. She lambasted the Hawks for opting to chase her down for nonsensical matters instead of prioritising the cases her office has brought to them.

“I refer a lot of serious matters of criminal nature to the Hawks. Such matters hardly ever receive attention and yet there seems to be a prioritisation of trivial matters such as the one in question, which can under no circumstances be referred to as priority crime,” she cried.

Hawks dish it back to Mkhwebane with fiery response

The Hawks made note of Mkhwebane’s remarks in a statement released on Wednesday.

The state investigative wing indicated that contrary to Mkhwebane’s beliefs, the “DPCI understand its mandate and focus on national priority offences as defined in Section 17A of the South African Police Service 68 of 1995”.

“All the matters that have been referred to the DPCI by her office are receiving attention. We have not received a concern from the public protector that suggest otherwise. The DPCI was also not aware that the public protector has exercised her constitutional right to remain silent, after asking the national head to personally request her statement.

“The DPCI has been waiting for her exculpatory statement as expressly requested so that the matter can be tabled before the National Prosecuting Authority for decision. Now that her refusal has been made known via the media, the DPCI shall no longer expect the application of the audi alteram partem rule but will now process the docket to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision, without her statement,” the statement read.

The Hawks reassured the public protector that every assignment is undertaken within the parameters of the law and that if she has observed the contrary, “she has the right to report to the Retired Judge in terms of Section 17L(4)(a) of the Police Act without courting unnecessary publicity.”

Mkhwebane, clearly under a lot of pressure, has doubled down on her refusal to bow out. She vowed to fight until the end and if she loses, “it will be God’s way of doing that”.

“I have not considered resigning and I won’t resign. As I’ve said several times, I’m here to serve and change South Africans’ lives. I will stay as long as I can (in my position) to deliver services to the people, the poor, the marginalised. That’s my only focus; my focus is the people of this country,” she said.