No donor funding, no consultants - Mkhwebane

2016-10-19 18:29
New Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

New Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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LISTEN: I'm no spy, says new PP

2016-10-07 07:30

We hear from the incoming Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.WATCH

Cape Town – No more sensational headings on reports, no more donor funding, and no more consultants, new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane told MPs on Wednesday.

Parliament’s justice committee praised, welcomed, and encouraged her to make her mark on the office, a marked difference to the hostility former public protector Thuli Madonsela had encountered from some members of the same committee.

Various concerns were raised as Mkhwebane presented the public protector’s 2015/16 annual report to MPs

These included the use of consultants, donor funding, irregular expenditure amounting to R5 million during the 2015/16 year, and the prioritisation of cases.

Also raised were the lack of handover between Madonsela and Mkhwebane, and Madonsela’s son crashing a luxury state-owned vehicle in 2012.

Mkhwebane was asked about the “sensational headings” on reports. She assured the committee these were a thing of the past.

Mkhwebane told the committee she would speak to Madonsela regarding payment for the vehicle.

She told the committee she was only able to meet Madonsela for 20 minutes before assuming office, as her predecessor had to go to a press conference.

Donor funding

She was asked about whether donor funding would compromise the institution, when it was revealed that USAID had given the office $500 000.

Her office would no longer ask for donor funding, she said. As a former State Security Agency (SSA) employee, she said she knew the implications of using donor funding.

“Therefore we need your support to get additional funding,” Mkhwebane said.

Consultants would be a thing of the past. They had led to the office incurring R5m irregular expenditure in the past financial year.

“Utilisation of consultants was a challenge in the office and I need to put it on record that I doubt we will have a clean audit in this financial year.”

They would try their level best to get an unqualified audit, she said.

“I am honest and transparent.”

She put a moratorium on international and expensive domestic trips.

Spy allegations

Mkhwebane called on the DA to withdraw its claims that she worked as a spy for the SSA while employed as an immigration officer in China. She was consulting her lawyers about it.

The party had made the allegations when Mkhwebane was named as the candidate to replace Madonsela.

“I would like my integrity to be restored. You say something like this and people have a certain perception about you. If I’m labelled a spy, it’s an issue of my integrity.”

It needed to be clarified in a cordial manner so they could move on, she said.

 

Read more on:    busisiwe mkhwebane  |  parliament 2016  |  public protector

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