Mkhwebane stands by poisoning claims, despite police denial

2019-07-08 12:57
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Lindile Mbontsi)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Lindile Mbontsi)

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is standing by her claim that her bodyguard was poisoned, her office told News24 on Monday. 

This despite the police denying this, saying there was no evidence to back up the claim. In an interview with News24, Mkhwebane's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said, while the her office was not willing share the details of the incident, "the Public Protector stands by her statement".

During a media briefing on Friday, Mkhwebane said that she had received information about the attempt to poison a member of the VIP protection unit, assigned to look after her.

News24 reported that Mkhwebane, who released a damning report against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, refused to disclose any further information on her claims, only saying some of her property had been tampered with.

While police have launched an investigation into the claims, they have said that there is no evidence that gives credence to them.

READ MORE | EXPLAINED: The Public Protector's findings and how they bind (and help) Ramaphosa, Gordhan

Over the weekend national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the first time such allegation had come to light was when the Public Protector was quoted in the media.

"It is prudent to mention at the onset that at no stage did any member of the VIP Protection Unit make any report of 'poisoning' to police management," Naidoo said.

Mkhwebane also made claims that her property had been tampered with. Last month, Mkhwebane also inferred that her life was in danger.

'Hired gun'

"I am the servant of state, I expect government to protect me. We received protection from the South African Police Services," Mkhwebane said in an address to the South African Sheriff Society in Johannesburg. 

This comes as Mkhwebane is in the firing line following her reports on Gordhan and her investigation into President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Last month, the DA wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, asking that she institute proceedings to remove Mkhwebane from office. 

READ MORE: Busisiwe Mkhwebane goes for broke on Pravin Gordhan

Her findings against Gordhan have caused political uproar, with ANC and alliance party leaders calling for her head. Among these is SACP leader Solly Mapaila and ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe, who accused Mkhwebane of playing in the political space.

Mapaila went a step further, accusing Mkhwebane of being a "hired gun" for a rogue unit in the intelligence unit. 

Last week, Mkhwebane wrote to Mapaila, asking him to apologise and withdraw his statements or face legal action. Mapaila had refused, she told journalists. 

She said she would now be instituting legal action against the SACP leader.

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Read more on:    public protector  |  busisi­we mkhwebane
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