The public protector is seemingly digging in her heels, flatly refusing to apologise or retract her statements deemed defamatory and dangerous by former SA Revenue Service (Sars) executives Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg.
Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane had until yesterday at noon to comply with the demands from Pillay and Van Loggerenberg’s lawyers, or face the legal music.
But Mkhwebane would have none of it, daring the duo to take her to court because she seemingly will not apologise or retract the statements because these were neither false nor defamatory.
The public protector’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said nowhere in her statements does Mkhwebane, who is currently in Egypt, mention Pillay and Van Loggerenberg.
He said it boggled the mind how reference to the so-called “rogue unit” in the view of Pillay and Van Loggerenberg imputes their involvement when, in fact, the unit employed a number of people.
“It is also a mystery how [Pillay and Van Loggerenberg] conclude that the public protector’s statements that there are threats to arrest and poison her are false and defamatory,” said Segalwe. “She was talking about information that is factual and falls within her personal knowledge.”
Segalwe added that Pillay and Van Loggerenberg were free to exercise their rights to a legal course, saying Mkhwebane would meet them in court.
“The public protector will defend such matter. It should be noted that the Constitution is clear that no one may interfere with the functioning of the public protector and that the public protector must exercise her powers and perform her functions without fear, favour or prejudice.”
At the centre of the spat between Mkhwebane, Pillay and Van Loggerenberg are recent remarks by the former, published on her official social media and YouTube accounts.