Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane File picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Johannesburg - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she did not deliberately ditch Parliament’s portfolio committee meeting but was told she did not need to attend. 

The Public Protector is also not happy that her submission to Parliament’s committee of justice and correctional services has been leaked to the media. 

Mkhwebane was due to attend Parliament’s portfolio committee of justice and correctional services meeting on Tuesday where her response to the DA chief whip John Steenhuisen was due to be discussed. 

Steenhuisen had requested that the process to remove Mkhwebane from office be expedited. 

The Public Protector sent a response in writing to the committee in July and had made plans to attend the committee meeting which she was invited to attend by committee chairperson Mothole Motshekga. 

She said she was told on Tuesday that she was not required to attend the meeting and had in fact not in fact deliberately taken the decision not to attend. 

Mkhwebane said she is surprised by media reports that claim she ditched the meeting and opted to submit a letter. She has since demanded an apology from media houses that claimed she missed the meeting. 

“On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, the eve of the meeting, the Committee Secretariat informed Adv. Mkhwebane’s office in a text message and an email that she was not required to attend the meeting and that the committee was going to discuss the content of her submission in her absence and decide on the next step,” said her office in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “

“Adv. Mkhwebane pleads with media houses that have been peddling false information regarding this matter to verify facts before going public. She further requests the media houses concerned to withdraw their reports and apologise for the damage caused.”

 She said she will write to Motshekga about her submission being leaked to the media. 

That submission has caused some controversy among committee members as she claimed the committee lacked the sufficient grounds to remove her from office. 

She has also requested that some members of the committee recuse themselves as they were biased against her office. 

In her submission, Mkhwebane said her office was being treated unfairly compared to the manner in which judges were treated by Parliament, while the constitution guaranteed the independence both of courts and of the chapter nine institution. 

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