South Africa’s Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane maintains that there is a witch hunt against her by those who fear her investigations. She was responding to the latest reports that she is being investigated by First National Bank (FNB) for possible exchange control violations.
This relates to several transactions from as far back as 2014. Money is believed to have been moved between countries without permission or explanation to the bank.
Some of the payments were reportedly flagged by multinational bank HSBC as part of its broader probe into Gupta-linked entities. But Mkhwebane has told the SABC news desk that this is part of an orchestrated campaign by her detractors.
She was visiting displaced people at Ruimsig – West of Johannesburg.
“I was not even aware that they are investigating. I was not even told or given any notification from them; I just hear in the media it is a witch hunt. I mean Financial Mail publishing such a … headline it’s concerning.”
Meanwhile, Mkhwebane maintains that she is not concerned about a Parliamentary process to look into her fitness to hold office. The Portfolio Committee on Justice has set a date to meet to discuss the matter after the Democratic Alliance (DA) wrote to the Speaker.
Various political parties and organizations have accused Mkhwebane of being incompetent – or politically motivated – and are calling for her head.
Mkhwebane, however, says she is looking forward to hearing from Parliament.
“I think this process is so good because it will have to help the country to know their standpoint when it comes to constitutional and even the development of law so I am ready for that process….I am not concerned, I want us to engage and reason together for the public to know.”
Mkhwebane maintains that she is unfazed by the recent setting aside of some of her reports by the courts.
The High Court in Pretoria last Wednesday found parts of Mkhwebane’s Bapo Ba Mogale mine royalties report invalid. And on Monday last week Mkhwebane’s remedial action regarding the so called SARS “rogue unit” was suspended pending a judicial review.
But Mkhwebane says she’s not too concerned.
“Taking the matter on review people have the right to do that; the courts are there to also assist and interpret the law and as the Public Protector we take it as the process of the development of the law and even when we oppose applications we are not fighting but we are saying we wouldn’t want a court to reach a conclusion but then we are assisting them to do that.”