'Stop confusing the people‚' parly committee tells Mkhwebane

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has appealed to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to stop sending mixed messages to South Africans.

The committee said it was concerned about “conflicting and confusing” statements made by Mkhwebane regarding the remedial action of her predecessor‚ Thuli Madonsela‚ in her report on state capture.

Mkhwebane has been accused of questioning the proposed scope of a state capture inquiry‚ which was announced by President Jacob Zuma last week. Mkhwebane on Thursday denied that she had contradicted Madonsela’s findings by calling for the inquiry to have broader terms of reference.

But committee chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga disagreed with Mkhwebane. “The integrity of the remedial action should not be questioned and as the courts have previously ruled‚ the remedial action of the Public Protector is binding‚” Motshekga said in a statement issued on Friday.

“That remedial action confines itself to what should form part of the inquiry. It is not for her to request an expansion of the terms of reference for the state capture inquiry. In fact‚ it is only the courts that have the power to amend or change the remedial action.”

Motshekga said Mkhwebane was confusing the general public and urged her not to interfere with the remedial action or scope of the inquiry.

Mkhwebane triggered a backlash last week when she called on Zuma not to limit the state capture inquiry to issues raised in Madonsela’s state capture report to “ensure that no stone is left unturned”. In response‚ the EFF warned Mkhwebane to keep quiet or risk bringing her office into disrepute.

On Thursday Mkhwebane‚ who has been accused of being a Zuma ally‚ defended her stance. She suggested that matters raised by Madonsela were merely a starting point.

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