Cellphone theft accusation haunts protector candidate

Cape Town – A cellphone theft accusation and a reckless driving charge against Public Protector candidate Jill Oliphant were in the spotlight during her interview for the post on Thursday.

Members of Parliament’s ad hoc committee established to select a candidate to replace Thuli Madonsela questioned her about the “Sun City incident”.

She said she had gone gambling at Sun City a few years ago when she found a phone next to a machine. She gave it to her husband to hold and hand in later. Before the end of the evening, a security guard approached her and accused her of stealing.

“As a result of that, I got very angry. They then wanted me to sign some piece of paper and I refused because I had not done anything wrong at all,” she said.

The high court attorney said the incident did not go any further.

She was asked to explain a reckless driving charge, which was withdrawn. While changing lanes at an intersection she almost hit another car.

 A police reservist who saw what happened said she was driving recklessly. Oliphant said she employed an expert to prove the intersection was dangerous and the matter was not pursued.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu was not interested in the alleged cellphone theft, but wanted her to explain why they should select someone who gambled to be the next public protector.

Corruption

She believed she should not be disqualified for spending R300 gambling as a stress relief. 

Asked about problems the public sector and public protector’s office had to deal with, she mentioned corruption and state capture.

Before Oliphant, candidate advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane was grilled on her business interests. She had seven businesses under her name, but none were operational, she explained. 

One related to a stokvel that was no longer working, she said.

She told the committee she was apolitical.

“I am not a card-carrying member of any political party. Like any South African I have the right to vote and my vote is my secret.”

 

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