LAWRENCE Mushwana says the stakes are high in the office of the public protector with all interested parties trying to stake a claim. Picture: ANA Archives

Cape Town - Former public protector Lawrence Mushwana says the stakes are high in the office of the Public Protector with all interested parties trying to stake a claim.

Mushwana said the fact there was so much interest in what Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was doing was because of increasing interest in what the office does.

However, Mushwana said if the matters were taken on review, people have to wait for the courts to make a pronouncement. Mkhwebane has been embroiled in a spat with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on the cases she is dealing with.

Gordhan has accused Mkhwebane of delving into matters that were previously dealt with by the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Nugent Commission.

In an unprecedented fightback, Mkhwebane has taken to social media to articulate her position and defend her decisions.

Opposition parties want Mkhwebane to be removed by Parliament.

Mushwana, however, called for cool heads, saying the reason there was so much attention in the office of the public protector was because people were more conscious of corruption in the country.

“You can understand, today everyone knows his or her rights. South Africans know when it comes to issues of corruption. The check is very high, not that it is bad but it is the timing and our institutions not giving each other time to finish the business,” said Mushwana.

“If a matter is on review one would hope everybody will wait what is the court saying.”

He said the way things are happening showed the stakes were very high.

“The stakes are high. We are waiting on the side. There are such competing interests in society.”

He said the institution of the Public Protector was new and people were beginning to understand its role.

He also warned that politics has come into play with people expressing their preferences.

“If we want to see the end product, it is better we wait for the court.”

He said everyone was watching with keen interest on what is happening in that office.

“We are conscious as a country, there is a lot going wrong. Even a child knows there is a public protector. The way things are in the country, you need everything to be functional,” he said.

Mkhwebane has been taken to court on several matters with the Constitutional Court to issue a judgment on the cost orders.

She has complained in Parliament in the past about cost orders she is facing in the courts.

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