Lindsay Dentlinger13 March 2024 | 8:40

Deputy PP interviews: Despite links to two candidates, Mkhwebane says she can remain objective

One candidate is acting pro bono in one of Mkhwebane's legal matters while another is an employee of the Public Protector’s office, who was fired by Mkhwebane when she was the Public Protector, and also testified in her impeachment inquiry.

Deputy PP interviews: Despite links to two candidates, Mkhwebane says she can remain objective

Newly sworn in Economic Freedom Fighters member of Parliament and former Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on 20 October 2023. Picture: Supplied/@ParliamentofRSA/X

CAPE TOWN - The start of interviews for a new deputy Public Protector was slightly delayed on Wednesday morning over links between Economic Freedom Fighters member of Parliament (MP) Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who is on the interviewing panel, and two of the shortlisted candidates. 
 
One candidate is acting pro bono in one of her legal matters while another is an employee of the Public Protector’s office, who was fired by Mkhwebane when she was the Public Protector, and also testified in her impeachment inquiry. 
 
But Mkhwebane believes she can remain objective, and there’s no reason for her to recuse herself. 
 
Advocate Shadrack Tebeile was due to be interviewed first by Parliament’s justice committee on Wednesday morning.
 
But Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach pointed out that he’s representing Mkhwebane in a case against the government at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
 
The head of investigations in the Public Protector’s office, Ponatshego Mogaladi whose axing by Mkhwebane was overturned by the Labour Court has also been raised.
 
“I see a clear conflict in both of those matters, an unavoidable and ineluctible conflict. And I believe that conflict will place at risk this entire proceeding,” added Breytenbach.
 
But Mkhwebane said the DA’s objections were disingenuous, and she planned to declare her association with these candidates. 
 
“I think it’s just an unnecessary issue, for them to raise this upfront, as if I’m a decision maker. I will force myself that you must appoint advocate Tebeile or you must appoint or not appoint Ms Mogaladi.
 
The African National Congress, however, has insisted the process proceeds for now with an unaffected candidate, despite appeals from DA MPs that legal advice be taken first.