At a media briefing today, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane announced that seven new reports would be released from her office, including one on Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s controversial tweet about colonialism.
Mkhwebane said she found Zille’s tweet amounted to improper conduct in terms of the Constitution. She stressed that the Western Cape legislature must “hold the premier accountable” for the tweet.
“The premier’s tweet was offensive and insensitive to a section of the South Africa population, which regarded it as reopening a lot pain and suffering to the victims of apartheid and colonialism,” Mkhwebane found.
The fact that Zille is under investigation by the public protector’s office will come as news to many South Africans.
Among other topics in the reports to be released today are tender irregularities at a Northern Cape municipality, political killings at the Glebelands hostels in KZN and an ambulance practitioner who laid a complaint against the City of Tshwane.
Mkhwebane also took the opportunity to tell the media: “We aren’t against criticism. We will continue to welcome criticism with humility.”
The current public protector has released 50 reports since taking office 20 months ago.
“In the 2016/17 financial year we’ve received more than 25 000 complaints, and have finalised 21 000,” she said.
Mkhwebane also announced her intention to embark on a roadshow this year.
She did not confront her recent nonattendance at Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, which outraged MPs despite her excuse that she had a family emergency.
The Western Cape premier came under fire for a controversial tweet defending aspects of colonialism’s legacy in March, 2017, for which she was forced to apologise.
Zille has released a statement on hearing of Mkhwebane’s report. Her office said: “The Premier has not received the actual report, outlining the reasons for this finding. However, from what has been announced on television, the Premier is likely to take this report on judicial review. The Premier has already advised the public protector that, in her view, such a finding would be unlawful and irrational.”