Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane on Thursday said her patience with the Democratic Alliance, which accused her of being a government spy, has lapsed and she will now be suing the opposition party after failing to get an apology.

“I have given enough time to do that [to withdraw and apologise] and they have not done it, so indeed now I’m seriously considering [and] I will be taking legal action on that matter. This matter impacts on the integrity of this institution. I don’t think this institution would love to be led by a spy,” Mkhwebane said at a media briefing at Public Protector House in 

Public Protector To Sue DA Over Spy Allegations


“The allegations which have been made … that I was a spy when I was in China, I said I was giving them the opportunity to withdraw that and apologise. So within my 100 days [at the helm of the Public Protector office], it was too early for me.”

Mkhwebane said she does her work without fear or favour.

“I think political parties decided to vote for me because of my performance and of what I did. I am still committed to do my work without fear or favour,” she said.

Regarding her opening of a criminal case with the police over former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s leaking of an audio interview with President Jacob Zuma during her state capture investigation, Mkhwebane said she was only doing her job.

“We wanted the police to investigate when those audios leaked [and] they were taken to eNCA or whoever after the term of Advocate Madonsela. The issue of when was that audio released is a question which needs to be investigated,” she said.

“It’s about making sure that we address these issues of leaks and we know that the integrity of this office is maintained.”

Mkhwebane reportedly laid the charges at the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria following a complaint from Zuma.

Earlier Mkhwebane blamed the media for creating the wrong perception that she hated her predecessor Thuli Madonsela.

“The media is the one saying I hate Thuli Madonsela. I don’t hate Advocate Thuli Madonsela. We work together. Even though the audio [of Madonsela’s interview with President Jacob Zuma] was released, we spoke and she was requesting information because she was getting a lot of media queries,” Mkhwebane addressed reporters at a press conference marking her 100 days in office.

“I told her not to worry because that information is of the Public Protector so we would handle it from our side.”

Mkhwebane started off the briefing by paying tribute to her predecessors — Madonsela, Advocate Lawrence Mushwana and Judge Selby Baqwa — for collectively laying a “solid foundation”.

“I inherit a strong institution, with sound systems and a dedicated, skilled, experienced and hardworking team. With this combination, I have no doubt in my mind that we will do our best to realise my vision of taking this institution to the grassroots, where many of our people are yet to taste the fruits of democracy, said Mkhwebane.

“That this has been a bumpy sixteen weeks for the Public Protector South Africa is obvious. However, it was not unexpected. I have worked here before, from 1999 to 2005. But never before have I observed so much public interest in this institution.”

She said over the last couple of years, the Public Protector office has grown from being “just another obscure institution” with a great potential to make a meaningful contribution to South Africa’s young democracy, to being a beacon of hope for South Africans from all walks of life.

Asked to explain the “bumpy” experience, Mkhwebane singled out the numerous allegations against her in the media.

“I think the allegations which have been made on me. Sometimes I found myself having to prove myself to people that I am here to work, to deliver services and I am not bringing any agendas. But I must say it has been a good reception from the staff. Nothing bumpy from the staff but it is only the reports that are out there in the media,” said Mkhwebane.

The Public Protector announced that since taking over the office, matters of overall performance have been improving despite being under-funded.

“Regarding the overall performance of the Public Protector SA against the targets set in the Annual Performance Plan, we have improved from 11 percent in the quarter preceding my arrival to 32 percent by the end of December. With a little under two months left, we are pulling out all stops to ensure that we achieve more on the 45 strategic goals that we have set for ourselves by March 31, 2017, she said.

“On resourcing, the Public Protector is one of the most under-funded institutions when one looks at its broad mandate and jurisdiction. This financial year, we have been allocated R263.3 million. Only half of our organisational structure is funded, which means we operate at half our potential.”

From February 16, Mkhwebane will kick-start a four-month nationwide stakeholder engagement roadshow that will see her “crisscrossing the country”, interacting with a varied network of stakeholders including provincial premiers, members of executive councils and provincial legislatures, the general public and political parties represented in Parliame