Reports: Mkhwebane threatened to pull out of Aoma forum if Madonsela was invited

Madonsela declined to comment, but a source confirmed that the former Public Protector was not invited to the conference.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – It’s emerged Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane threatened to withdraw South Africa’s hosting of an African Ombud Conference if her predecessor advocate Thuli Madonsela was invited.

The City Press says last month Mkhwebane told the secretariat of the African Ombudsman and Mediators' Association (Aoma) that the country, along with the African Ombudsman Research Centre, based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal would not host the organisation’s conference if it invited Madonsela.

The organisation, which held its conference in Durban early last month, did not invite Madonsela despite having honoured her at the event for her “outstanding and exemplary service” in office.

Madonsela’s trophy and certificate, presented at the event, were accepted on her behalf by deputy public protector Kevin Malunga.

The paper is reporting Mkhwebane’s threat to withdraw South Africa from hosting the conference is contained in a heated string of emails from the office’s outgoing Chief of Staff Bonginkosi Dhlamini.

Mkhwebane fired Dhlamini last week, saying his post did not match his expertise.

On Wednesday, she had her VIP protection officers escort him from the Public Protector headquarters in Pretoria.

The paper says it spoke to Dhlamini who told them that he wrote an email to the Public Protector a week before his sacking, telling her that he would ask Parliament whether it gave her mandate to tell Aoma that she will not host the fifth anniversary and conference if it invited her predecessor to receive an award that she deserved.

He also threatened to approach the international relations department about the matter.

Madonsela declined to comment, but a source close to Aoma confirmed to the paper that the former Public Protector was not invited to the conference.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)