The new public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, is said to be so anti-Thuli Madonsela that she threatened to withdraw from an event if her predecessor was invited.
City Press has reported that it has seen emails and interviewed members of her staff, and it reports that Mkhwebane threatened the secretariat of the African Ombudsman and Mediators’ Association (Aoma) that South Africa would withdraw from hosting the association’s conference if it invited Madonsela.
The event took place at the start of November and Madonsela did not attend despite being honoured with a trophy and certificate in absentia for her outstanding and exemplary service while in office.
The threats to withdraw are contained in an angry string of emails from the office’s outgoing chief of staff, Bonginkosi Dhlamini, according to City Press.
Mkhwebane fired him last week.
Dhlamini has reportedly threatened to go to parliament to give a protected disclosure about the goings-on at the public protector’s office under Mkhwebane.
Madonsela would not comment, but an Aoma source confirmed that they had not sent her an invitation to the conference, even though it had been she who had accepted South Africa’s hosting of the conference in the first place.
Aoma colleagues from other countries were apparently shocked by the snub of Madonsela.
In one email the paper saw, Dhlamini described Mkhwebane as “heartless”, “unreasonable” and “cruel”, among other things.