National Assembly set to vote today on new Public Protector

The DA said it won’t support Busisiwe Mkhwebane when her name comes before the National Assembly.

FILE: A screengrab of Busisiwe Mkhwebane being interviewed in Parliament. Picture: YouTube/SABC

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly is set to vote today on the country's new Public Protector, amid a storm over whether or not candidate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is a spy.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday claimed reliable sources had informed the party that Mkhwebane was on the State Security Agency's payroll during the four years she spent in China as director for refugee affairs at South Africa's embassy there.

The party cited this as the main reason it won't be supporting Mkhwebane today when 60 percent of Members of Parliament in the National Assembly must endorse her name before it gets sent to President Jacob Zuma, who makes the final appointment.

The African National Congress in Parliament has laid into the DA over its claims that Mkhwebane may have been in the pay of the State Security Agency while working in China, which, if true, wasn't disclosed during the committee process to select her.

Spokesperson Moloto Motapho said: "It's unfortunate that a qualified African woman candidate, who's experienced, (with a) brilliant legal mind, who's got a wealth of government experience, (is) a brilliant manager, (that) her name would be blemished in such a manner by one political party just because their preferred candidate did not make it."

The DA's Glynnis Breytenbach says they don't mean to cast aspersions on Mkhwebane and that she may turn out to be a good Public Protector.

"But bearing in mind our job is to support the best candidate, she isn't, and it's our job to point it out to the public, which we're now doing."