ANC Women's League leader Bathabile Dlamini. File photo:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - Embattled Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane needs to be protected from her detractors, ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini said on Friday.

"This other one must be protected too...she must be protected. What's sad is when people become personal and attack the persona of Mkhwebane, and we cannot hide our heads in the sand and keep quiet. This is wrong and it has happened to many other women before...it happened to [former police commissioner] Riah Phiyega and we kept quiet," she said during an interview on SAFM.

Dlamini, who is also a member of the ANC national executive committee, mentioned other women such as former water affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane and National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise whom she said were constantly under attack.

"They have been treated unfairly. Comrade Modise is being taken to court by AfriForum...the same AfriForum that is supporting some of our comrades. We [ANCWL] had an agreement that we should support these comrades and that Chapter 9 institutions be left alone to do their work. South Africans must know that what is good for the goose is good for the gender," she said.

Dlamini rallied behind the dismissed eThekhwini mayor Zandile Gumede, lashing out at the governing party over her dismissal. She accused her party leaders of "removing women from powerful positions".

Mkhwebane has in recent times suffered defeat upon defeat in the courts in cases where her methodology and findings were challenged.

In the latest high profile cases, the high court on Monday granted President Cyril Ramaphosa an interdict  following an application to stay the remedial action in the Mkhwebane's Bosasa report. 

On Thursday, the same court ordered her to pay legal costs in her personal capacity following a legal challenge of her report on Free State Vrede dairy project. In her judgement, Judge Ronel Tolmay said Mkhwebane failed the people of South Africa in the manner she conducted her investigation. Tolmay had in May this year found Mkhwebane's report on the matter was invalid and set it aside.

The much criticised Mkhwebane has stood her ground, saying she would not resign but serve until 2023 when her term ends.

African News Agency (ANA)