Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. FILE PHOTO: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

** This story has been updated

Pretoria - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Wednesday said she had laid criminal charges against State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba for contempt and "interference with the functioning of her office".

Mkhwebane laid the charges against Letsatsi-Duba over her failure to hand over a declassified document the PP required in connection with an investigation into alleged violation of the Executive Members’ Ethics Code by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Mkhwebane laid the charges at Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria.

The Public Protector in a statement explained her decision to lay charges against the minister. 

“It is my respectful view that the minister’s failure to avail the declassified report as subpoenaed amounts to contempt of the Public Protector and interference with the functioning of my office, and is therefore an offence.

“The Constitution makes it clear that no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of independent constitutional institutions such as my office. The Constitutional Court has clarified this further, explaining that, in doing my work, I am not to be inhibited, undermined or sabotaged and that my powers are 'not supposed to bow down to anybody'," she said. 

The charges come just two days after Letsatsi-Duba opened a criminal case against Mkhwebane, who the minister said obtained a copy of the report, which she says is classified top secret, illegally.

Mkhwebane is probing whether Gordhan breached the Executive Members' Ethics Act in relation to the early pension payout to former deputy revenue service commissioner Ivan Pillay.

Additional reporting by ANA