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Media reports part of a plot to 'remove me from office': Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Sunday slammed claims made in two media reports concerning her investigations into the Vrede dairy project and Bankorp-CIEX matters.

She said the news reports were designed to influence the mooted parliamentary process to remove her from office.

A report by News24 and amaBhungane claimed that, according to an affidavit from a whistle-blower, crucial information implicating ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and former minister Mosebenzi Zwane in the Vrede dairy farm scheme was removed from a Public Protector report on instruction from Mkhwebane.

The report also said the affidavit stated that information relating to the intended beneficiaries of the Gupta-linked scheme, which saw in excess of R250m in public funds being funnelled through the farm’s holding company Estina, was removed at Mkhwebane’s behest.

Another report — also by News24 and amaBhungane — stated how a State Security Agency official — in an affidavit — had provided the recommendation contained verbatim in Mkhwebane’s CIEX report that parliament amend the constitution to nationalise the SA Reserve Bank.

Mkhwebane, in a series of tweets, said these “baseless” CIEX and Vrede claims were by disgruntled employees, some of whom were facing disciplinary action.

“The intention is to influence the mooted parliamentary process to remove me from office. I’ll respond substantively in due course,” Mkhwebane said.

Commenting on the Vrede report, Mkhwebane said the provisional report released in October 2016 had been on the website from the time these claims first surfaced to demonstrate to the public that there was never an issue implicating any politicians.

“Accordingly, there couldn’t have been any removal of information that was never there to start with. In addition, the content of the provisional report in question has never been disputed.”

Mkhwebane said it was only after parliament's justice portfolio committee requested that an investigation be carried out into the role of politicians and the plight of project beneficiaries that one was launched and it was progressing  well.

“Politicians have been interviewed and beneficiaries have given evidence,” Mkhwebane said.

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