Mkhwebane ‘harbours no ill’ against Madonsela
TMG Digital | 2017-02-05 14:46:31.0
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in her offices in Pretoria during the interview. File Photo
Image by: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane harbours no ill against her predecessor‚ Thuli Madonsela‚ and does not want to become engaged in a public spat with her.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Sunday‚ Mkhwebane’s office said she respected Madonsela and was grateful to her for the “admirable contribution” she made to South Africa’s democracy during her term of office.
However‚ it said it Mkhwebane was disappointed at what it referred to as the “peddling” of false information that was doing the rounds in the public domain‚ suggesting that the decision to withhold a portion of Madonsela’s gratuity pay-out was “informed by antagonism”.
“As indicated at a press conference to report on the achievements recorded during her first 100 days in office in the past week‚ a legal opinion has been sought from the office of the State Attorney to clarify if indeed Adv. Madonsela is liable for the costs associated with fixing the damages a state car entrusted to her sustained in a 2012 accident.
“Pending the procurement of the legal advice‚ it was decided that due care must be taken to not inconvenience Adv. Madonsela‚ hence the office released to her the rest of her gratuity pay-out‚” the statement read.
It stated that only the amount that as in dispute had been withheld.
“In the event the legal opinion indicates that Adv. Madonsela cannot be held liable for the costs‚ which the Government Garage is charging the office for‚ the money will be released to her‚” it added.
The statement continued: “The Public Protector would like to stress that there are no sinister motives behind this action. This is being done purely as part of the due diligence and governance practices that must underpin any transaction that involves the use of public funds. This way‚ the office will be in a position to account to auditors and to Parliament when questions on the expenditure arise.
“On the issue of the use of a state car beyond Adv. Madonsela’s term of office‚ a service that Government Garage is charging the office for‚ the Public Protector has noted the statements that this was authorised by the South African Police Service’s VIP Protection Unit.
“She was not privy to this information as Adv. Madonsela’s correspondence to the office about these matters was addressed to the Chief Executive Officer‚ who has since resigned. The Public Protector will look into this.”
The statement added that the Public Protector further wished to reiterate the point “that she harbours no ill will towards Adv. Madonsela”.
“She respects Adv. Madonsela and is grateful to her for the admirable contribution she made to South Africa’s democracy during her term of office. Working with the team‚ she plans to build on those successes to take the office to new heights. All she asks for is half a chance to prove herself.
“The Public Protector does not wish to engage in a public spat and will not be commenting further on this matter. She wants to channel all her energies towards the job at hand‚ which is to investigate‚ report on and remedy any suspected or alleged improper conduct in state affairs‚” the statement read.