New Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane had her first day in parliament yesterday and, if we could insert emojis, we’d use the fire one here.
Gaye Davis, Parliamentary correspondent for EWN, described Mkhwebane’s briefing to Parliament’s Justice Portfolio Committee on her office’s annual report, for Thuli Madonsela’s last year in office, as “throwing shade” at her predecessor.
Mkhwebane announced a few things. First, that she would no longer accept donor funding. This after it emerged that during Madonsela’s time in office, she secured US$ 500 000 US Dollars from government agency USAID.
Some concerns were raised about this as some MPs pondered whether that might havecompromised the independence of the organisation. But Davis’ analysis is that Madonsela didn’t have much of a choice: her requests for funding from parliament was repeatedly ignored or turned down.
Mkhwebane also announced that she would do away with using consultantsas far as possible. According to EWN, it emerged that PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as some academics assisted with the State Capture report. Mkhwebane said she understood that only one senior investigator from her office had worked on the report.
It also emerged that Mandonsela spent R7 million on consultancy fees. A large sum of that was spent on litigation costs‚ IT support and the preparation of financial statements.
Mkhwebane did, however, state that she would be looking for a “different kind of investigator” and said that for things like the nuclear report, she will require expert assistance.
Mkhwebane also said she will be chasing up Mandonsela over the amount she owes after her son crashed and official vehicle and that all staff will be vetted.
On John Robbie’s radio show on Thursday morning, though‚ Madonsela seemed puzzled that the matter of the crashed vehicle had resurfaced‚ saying the matter had been handled by two different processes.
Perhaps not too surprising, though, since Mkhwebane claims that no proper handover was done.