Public protector’s office paying Mkhwebane’s legal fees, Gcaleka says
Acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka says the public protector's office is paying for suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's legal fees.
Gcaleka was addressing almost 1,000 political party supporters who had marched to the protector's office in Pretoria on Friday to demand the release of a report on her investigation into the burglary at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm.
“Let me assure, the public protector through your funds, the funds of the public, are paying for the legal fees of advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane...
“We are paying for her to contest her suspension. We are paying for her to defend herself in the impeachment process. We are also paying for her to defend herself in the criminal proceedings of the perjury charges she is facing,” Gcaleka added.
Gcaleka expressed her gratitude to the marchers for showing their dedication and commitment to strengthening democracy.
“We acknowledge and accept you are here peacefully to show your support to us, the public protector, as we continue to execute our duties; we will do so knowing there is no political undue influence in this office.
“This office needs to do its work independently, without fear, without favour and without prejudice to ensure it produces credible reports which will stand the test of legal processes,” Gcaleka said.
Gcaleka said within seven days the office would respond to the demands of the parties in writing to their leaders.
African Transformation Movement (ATM) president Vuyolwethu Zungula, who read the memorandum of demands, said the parties did not expect anything which was beyond her scope of work.
“The Public Protector Act is clear that the report must be issued in 30 days. Therefore 30 days have passed. That is why we are adamant and strongly believe that she must do what is right in accordance with the law,” he said.
Zungula said if the report was not released in seven days, opposition parties would be left with no other options but to approach the courts.
EFF leader Julius Malema said since Gcaleka became acting public protector, she has alleged his party was intimidating and bullying her.
“We have never done anything to you my sister. We have asked you to do an honourable thing and release the report after 30 days as demanded by law.
“Instead of releasing the report you say I am not ready...” Malema said.
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