Deputy Public protector Kevin Malunga courts controversy, again
Politics / 7 October 2019, 1:59pm / MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA
Johannesburg - Outgoing Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga was on Sunday embroiled in another controversy in connection with the Office of the Public Protector.
This after Malunga cried foul at the headline of a report, "Mkhwebane's one-woman show has to go", carried by the Sunday Times.
He took to social media to express his shock at what he described as an attempt to drive a wedge between him and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
"In assessing my team I called for the reintroduction of quality control measure. Now I see a headline saying she is a one woman show which I never said," Malunga wrote on Twitter.
The deputy public protector is not a stranger to controversy.
* Malunga, who was naturalised in 2010 after renouncing his Zimbabwean citizenship, was one of the 14 candidates vying to replace former public protector Thuli Madonsela in October 2016.
He could not clinch the position, which was also contested by Mkhwebane, after his security clearance came up for discussion.
A report from the State Security Agency had said that he did not meet the requirements for a top secret security clearance due to his status as a naturalised citizen.
* In July, Malunga came under attack for comments he made relating to work at the office of the Public Protector in an interview with eNCA.
He had told the private broadcaster that he had no part to play in the Public Protector’s report into the R1.1 billion financial assistance that Bankorp - now amalgamated into Absa - was given by the SARB between 1985 and 1991.
“There’s a lot of things I think the office has got wrong. For example, I think we should be consulting each other a lot more. I don’t know anything about the Absa report sitting here as deputy public protector,” Kevin Malunga told eNCA during an interview on Monday night.
Malunga had also said under Madonsela's tenure, there had been a think-tank process to ensure that reports were quality assured, but this had changed under Mkhwebane.
He came under criticism from Twitter with EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu accusing him of throwing Mkhwebane under the bus.
“The problem with Adv. Kevin Malunga is that he always plays to the gallery. When the Zuma group started attacking Thuli Madonsela, he did exactly what he wants to do now: ie Distance himself from the Public Protector with the hope that he’ll find favour with the establishment,” tweeted Shivambu.
Malunga defended himself, tweeting that his interview had dealt with how to build confidence in the office and the work of the office.
“I have no one to please. I am done and will be moving to other things in any event,” Malunga said at the time.
* In August 2019, he found himself at the centre of calls by civil society organisation Accountability Monitor which wanted him to investigate Mkhwebane whom it accused of being unfit to hold office.
* In May 2013, reports surfaced that tensions emerged between Madonsela and Malunga after he wrote a letter to Parliament.
It was reported that in the letter addressed to the portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development, Malunga told the MPs he "regrets the unpleasant altercation" that took place between him and Madonsela over the powers of the public protector as weighed against the oversight role of Parliament.
* In 2016, it was also reported that Malunga withheld the fact that he was dismissed from Wits Law School in 2009 when he failed to pass his probationary period as a lecturer when applying to take over from Madonsela.
Business Day reported that Malunga took up the post in 2004, but was forced to leave in 2009, having failed to satisfy requirements.
Malunga was quoted as admitting that he had been dismissed, but claimed he disclosed this to the committee.