- Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has approved crowdfunding for herself but has ruled out donations from the public for her office
- She believes that by accepting donations the independence of her office will be placed at risk
- Mkhwebane believes that the crowdfunding is necessary due to a court ruling that “unfairly separated the Public Protector from Busisiwe Mkhwebane”
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The Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has said in no uncertain terms that her department would not receive any donor funding from the public. This was while she was addressing the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.
However, she feels that in her personal capacity donations are acceptable. This stems from a court ruling which made her personally liable for the court costs of failed attempts to defend her findings in court.
Breifly.co.za learned that Mkhwebane feels that it is unfair that she must shoulder the cost while she was performing her duty as the Public Protector. The legal spending by her department has dropped from R20-million in 2017/2018 to R14-million in 2018/19, this was due to her department choosing to not defend all matters in court.
She has stated that the donated funds would be fully declared and she has consulted her legal team regarding crowdfunding according to thecitizen.co.za.
The Public Protector took pains to explain that she does not oppose reviews of her judgements in court but it is part of her duty to help assist the court in coming to a balanced decision on the matters.
Mkhwebane also cited the fact that her investigators do all her work for her and it is their findings that are reviewed in court.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach has countered that Mkhwebane is simply trying to shift responsibility and ultimately blame onto her investigators to evade the personal cost orders.
The EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) and ATM (African Transformation Movement) showed their support for the public protector.
EFF MPs Makoti Khawula and Godrich Gardee supported Mkhwebane, although they were not on the committee but attended the meeting.
Gardee shifted blame to the Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga and said the following,
“Like Pontius Pilate, he was washing his hands when the heat [was] on in the kitchen."
The Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe did not want the meeting to degenerate into a tit for tat and requested that Gardee and Khawula meet later to discuss their conduct.
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