Public Protector initiates legal action over ‘spy claims’

2017-10-27 20:58
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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Johannesburg – Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane instituted legal action against Democratic Alliance (DA) members, Glynnis Breytenbach and Werner Horn, in an effort to have them retract alleged defamatory remarks.

The court action stems from remarks made at a press conference on September 7 that Mkhwebane was a spy and on the State Security Agency's payroll, while employed by the Department of Home Affairs as a Counsellor of Immigration and Civic Service in China.

The Public Protector is also seeking an apology from the two DA members as well as the party.

Cleopatra Mosana, spokesperson for the Office of the Public Protector, told News24 that the allegations were false and had no factual basis.

“These allegations have caused irreparable damage to the office and the Public Protector, who is serving the public, as it casts doubt on her integrity and makes it difficult for her to do her work,” she said.

Mosana maintained that the statements allowed people to believe that Mkhwebane was a spy, despite the fact that there was no proof of the claim. “People isolate you once they think you are a spy, people who you have worked with and those who you are working with,” she said.

Breytenbach referred News24 to a statement from the party.

LISTEN: I'm no spy, says new PP

The party said that it had noted the Public Protector's intention of pursuing legal action against them, further stating that they had noted that the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development had changed its mind about initiating a formal inquiry into Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office.

"The DA will not shy away from this, or any further legal action, to ensure that the Public Protector’s office is above politicking and not subject to the political interference that seems to have characterised her tenure," read a statement from the opposition party.

Read more on:    da  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  busisiwe mkhwebane

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