New Public Protector to 'be the champion of the poor and downtrodden'

OCTOBER 6, 2016

The Presidency on Thursday said that President Jacob Zuma has appointed Advocate Busisiwe Joyce Mkhwebane as the new Public Protector.

“President Zuma has in terms of section 193(4) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, and on the recommendation of the National Assembly, appointed Advocate Busisiwe Joyce Mkhwebane as the Public Protector of the Republic of South Africa for a period of seven years with effect from 15 October 2016,” the Presidency said on Thursday.

The President has thanked outgoing Public Protector Advocate Thulisile Madonsela for her services and wished Advocate Mkhwebane all the best in the execution of her new responsibilities.

In September, the National Assembly endorsed Mkhwebane for the post.

Advocate Mkhwebane, who beat 78 other candidates in a marathon interview process, needed the approval of 60% of MPs (or 240 votes) in order for her name to be sent to the President for approval. She ended up getting 263 votes.

She got the votes from ANC, EFF, IFP, NFP, ACDP and other smaller parties. However, COPE abstained from voting while the DA had already indicated that they would not endorse Mkhwebane’s candidacy claiming that she worked as a spy for the State Security Agency while employed as an immigration officer at the South African embassy in China.

The African National Congress (ANC) welcomed her endorsement by the National Assembly and lambasted the DA for embarking on a smear campaign against her.

As the new Public Protector, Adv Mkhwebane said that her office will seek to be the champion of the poor and downtrodden.

"My allegiance is with the constitution and the rule of law... it doesn't matter who is being complained about," she said.

She told the SABC that issues of "State Capture" that most people are expecting her to tackle head on, will not be a priority for now as there is a huge backlog of "old cases" that are a "matter of life or death".