Johannesburg - The Public Protector’s office would be accessible to the most remote parts of South Africa, new Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Thursday while outlining her priorities.
“I will concentrate more on people at grass roots level, making sure that they have access to the offices on their own,” she said in an interview on 702.
“My predecessor (Thuli Madonsela) is finalising the state capture case. She will be finalising the preliminary report.
“I will prioritise old cases, because I don’t want a situation where the same institution that is investigating is delaying the finalisation of those cases.”
Mkhwebane spoke shortly after President Jacob Zuma appointed her to the position. She is due to take office on October 15.
Her nomination by an ad hoc parliamentary committee was endorsed by the National Assembly a month ago.
Mkhwebane has the support of most of the opposition parties, with the notable exception of the DA. She said the DA’s concerns that she was too close to the government did not faze her.
Mkhwebane has worked extensively in various government posts. Her most recent position was director of the Country Information and Co-operation Management Unit for the Department of Home Affairs.
“It does not put pressure on me. My predecessor worked for the Department of Justice and moved to the South African Law Commission.
“I have a lot of experience in the government, which is an advantage to the office because I know how the government operates. I am not threatened or concerned about that.”
She reiterated that her independence or that of the office was not under threat.
“I will be doing my best, without fear nor favour. I will be subject only to the constitution and the rule of law and nothing else. I am not entering the office to serve anybody’s agenda. I am apolitical; I don’t belong to any political party.”
The DA has said that Mkhwebane’s stint as an immigration officer in China for the Department of Home Affairs suggested she was a spy and that's made her unsuitable to head a chapter 9 institution that needed to be independent.
Mkhwebane, an advocate with 20 years' experience in law, dismissed the party’s allegation that she was on the payroll of the State Security Agency.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu paid tribute to Madonsela, whose relationship with the ruling party was often fractious when she delivered adverse findings against key figures, including Zuma.