Mkhwebane to run Public Protector's office differently

Mkhwebane says the state capture report will be made public - if the court orders this.

FILE: New Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - New Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has made it clear that things will be done differently during her term of office.

She's ordered that all staff be vetted for security clearances, has placed a moratorium on all international and some local travel and says the use of consultants and foreign funding will be stopped.

Mkhwebane met with Parliament's justice committee for the first time yesterday and was praised by chairperson Mathole Motshekga for her "refreshing approach".

Mkhwebane wants Parliament to give her office more money, saying funding is critical but that foreign donations pose a risk to the sovereignty of the state.

"Donor funding, it's a thing of the past, especially coming from the environment where I was working - it's not a secret, I was working for the State Security Agency and I know the implications of that (foreign funding)."

Consultants also won't be used, after it emerged PricewaterhouseCoopers was involved in compiling Thuli Madonsela's state capture report.

Mkhwebane is also ditching the catchy titles Madonsela gave her reports for easier reference.

"We will move away from that, we'll make sure our reports are properly named."

Because they deal with sensitive information, Mkhwebane says all staff, including herself, will be vetted for security clearance.

STATE CAPTURE REPORT

The new Public Protector says the state capture report will be made public - if the court orders this.

Arguments in the bid by President Jacob Zuma and Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen to block its release is set to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on November 1.

Mkhwebane's told Parliament's justice committee she'll be filing a responding affidavit in the matter tomorrow (Friday).

Busisiwe Mkhwebane says the state capture report is under lock and key and that it will not be released to anyone until the court proceedings are finalised.

But she indicated after the meeting it could still see the light of day.

"The report is finalised, so if the court says we publish the report, the normal process will be followed."

African National Congress Members of Parliament are already questioning the report's credibility after Mkhwebane revealed that consultants were involved in compiling it.

The Democratic Alliance says it's entitled to a copy as it is the complainant in the matter.

Mkhwebane, who says she herself has not read the report, says it will remain under wraps because the matter is sub judice.

"So I cannot commit to say tomorrow the report is released, because the court said it should be kept safe."