I’m not defending Zuma – Mkhwebane

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, during a press briefing at the Public Protector Office, 20 October 2016, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, during a press briefing at the Public Protector Office, 20 October 2016, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

She says her office will hold the president to account and probe him if his actions amount to misconduct.

Public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has ca claims that she’s shielding President Jacob Zuma as unjustified, saying her job is to defend and implement the constitution at all times.

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Speaking on the sidelines of a 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children event in Khayelitsha on Thursday, Mkhwebane, who has faced criticism over perceptions that she is compromised and protecting Zuma, said her office would hold the president to account and probe him if his actions amounted to misconduct.

“Why would I shield the president? If the president has committed any conduct or there’s a service failure, he will be investigated. I’m here to defend and implement the constitution. And I need to categorically state, the constitution provides for the rights of everyone.

“So, I am not here to protect one person. My role is to protect the public. So I am not defending the president,” she said.

She also defended a complaint she lodged with police over the leaking of audio clips of three interviews, one of them between Zuma and her predecessor Thuli Madonsela, linked to the contentious State of Capture report. The other clips include interviews with EFF leader Julius Malema and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.

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Madonsela admitted she leaked the audio recording after Zuma claimed she had not given him the opportunity to answer her questions.

Asked about Zuma’s court application to take Madonsela’s report for a judicial review, she refused to comment, saying her office wasn’t aware of the grounds for the application.

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