Mkhwebane criticised for being 'too soft'

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

Johannesburg - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was criticised for being soft compared to her predecessor Thuli Madonsela, in a radio interview on Monday night.

"We expect you to be vigorous and not be on the side of government," a caller to Power FM told her.

She was hosting the show as part of the radio station’s Women’s Day celebrations.

He said he was not impressed by her work and that she was too soft on government.

Mkhwebane said people needed to remember that she had been in the post for nine months and that her office had a backlog of 4000 cases. 

"We will try our level best to deal with these issues," she said. 

She remained poised as one caller after another questioned her ability to act firmly against government officials.

Another caller advised her to be brave and said she had been given an important platform through which she could have an impact on people’s lives. 

Another caller who referred to himself as a reverend asked her to respond to allegations that she had been "captured".

She said she had been "captured" by the Constitution and that her office was independent. Its role was to strengthen the country’s constitutional democracy.

She, again, denied being soft on government. "There is still more to come," he said. 

Mkhwebane then interviewed Madonsela on her term as the Public Protector. 

During the interview the two women praised National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete. Madonsela said she applauded Mbete on her decision to have the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma held on a secret ballot.

"I applaud her for deciding on a very important constitutional matter," Madonsela said.

Mbete says her decision to hold the upcoming motion of no confidence in Zuma via secret ballot is in the best interests of the country.

In what was a surprise move for many, Mbete announced in Parliament on Monday that the eighth motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be through a secret ballot on Tuesday.

Mbete told the gathered media that it was important to listen to the doubts that society had expressed in Parliament and democracy recently.

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