Religious leaders pray for new Public Protector Mkhwebane

2016-12-01 15:44
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (File)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (File)

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Cape Town – A group of pastors on Thursday prayed for new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the start of an awareness campaign by her office on the importance of preventing violence against women and children.

"Because we know what has been going on at that office," said Reverend Rich Mbuli.

Mbuli, Bishop Marvin Tshangela and another pastor performed a ceremony involving laying their hands on Mkhwebane at the event at the Luhlaza High School in Khayelitsha.

They prayed that she would be protected as she did her work.

"I did not bring my Doom today," Mbuli joked at the end of the prayers, in a reference to Prophet Lethebo Rabalago, of Mount Zion General Assembly, who sprayed congregants with insecticide during a "cleansing" ritual.

Mkhwebane took over from former public protector Thuli Madonsela, who produced the State of Capture report, which took a first look into allegations that the wealthy Gupta family may have had a hand in key Cabinet appointments, and the awarding of lucrative contracts to the family's businesses.

Focus on women and children

Madonsela's last day in office was marked by the report being locked up because of a pending application by President Jacob Zuma and others to keep it under wraps. Zuma had complained that he had not had a chance to respond to allegations.

After Zuma withdrew his application and the report was released, an audio clip of his interview with Madonsela surfaced and Mkhwebane has laid a complaint with police to find out how it was leaked. She has been criticised for that move.

But on Thursday, the focus was not on politicians, but on helping to find ways of keeping women and children safe from violence.

Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga used commonplace examples of violence to help those attending the event to understand that it was not just physical violence that they should be concerned about.

He touched on examples, including verbal abuse and harassment.

Thabisa Ngada, the Western Cape manager for the Commission for Gender Equality, said: "Imagine if there were 16 days where there was no violence against women."

She said it was time to stop repeating slogans, and to take action in the form of volunteering to help women who need support, especially women who can't get help for themselves.

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