Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's return to office on Tuesday did not happen as she did not get into the building, and she addressed the media that converged outside the building.
Mkhwebane had said on Monday that she intended to return to work after the Section 194 inquiry, which investigated her fitness to hold office, finalised its report and submitted it to the National Assembly.
Mkhwebane was appointed as the new Public Protector in October 2016, and her term is expected to end in October. However, parliament is scheduled to make a final decision on Mkhwebane’s case.
Upon her arrival with her husband, David Skosana, Mkhwebane did not bother to enter the premises; instead, she addressed the media at the gate. Security increased after her arrival.
She claimed that the police were instructed to block her from entering the premises and that her bodyguards were told not to participate in her move into the premises.
Addressing the media, Mkhwebane lashed out at acting Public Protector, Kholeka Gcaleka.
"She has exposed what I was saying: that it’s as if she was working with these persecutors, which is wrong. She should have kept quiet; she should have allowed the president to deal with this matter," she said.
She even stated that parliament did not entertain the matter as it was a presidential responsibility.
"It’s embarrassing, and it shows that she was what she was accused of being, a president protector, because she can’t be doing that," she said.
This comes after the Public Protector’s Office said that Mkhwebane was not an employee of the office. It was responding to Mkhwebane’s announcement that she would return to work.
"Who is paying me? The President said I am suspended with full benefits, and now she comes back and says I am not an employee. Indeed, I am accountable to Parliament, but I am an executive authority of this institution," she said.
Acting spokesperson in the Office of the Public Protector, Ndili Msoki, said they noted the statement by Mkhwebane that she was returning to the office on Tuesday.
But she was still suspended, as the president has not confirmed that she may return to work.