MKMVA & Niehaus defend Mkhwebane

Staff Writer | Jun 30, 2019
The uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) has come out in defence of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (Mkhwebane).

The MKMVA has supported Mkhwebane following criticism of her suitability to remain in office by senior African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP) leaders.

“MKMVA is deeply concerned by the array of public attacks that are constantly being directed at the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. More recently these attacks have increased in their scope and intensity, with the latest attacks accusing her of being ‘politically motivated’, and acting in favour of, or trying to, advance the interests of some ‘faction’ within the ANC.

“It should be noted that these allegations are contrived, and that there is absolutely no evidence of such conduct by Advocate Mkhwebane,” said MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus in a statement.

The SACP’s first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila claimed that Mkhwebane had received information on cases from rogue intelligence elements that have a strong influence on her office. 

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe also accused the Public Protector of venturing into political terrain where she doesn’t belong

It has also been alleged that she is working with the ANC faction that is against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership.

Mkhwebane this week threatened to take legal action against Mapaila over his scathing comments about her capacity. She said the SACP leader must prove the claims or retract his statements.

Niehaus said these attacks were often initiated by parties who are under investigation by Mkhwebane’s office, “or by the supporters of those who are under investigation” and want to undermine the integrity of the Public Protector.

“MKMVA believes that when faced by such unfortunate conduct we must keep cool heads and return to the basic provisions of our Constitution. It is critical to always appreciate that the office of the Public Protector is one of the Chapter Nine institutions that have been established to protect our constitutional democracy and the rights of every South African citizen. Those who attack the office of the Public Protector do so at their own peril, and inadvertently also undermine the constitutional protection of their own human rights,” Niehaus said.

To launch “deliberate and malicious public attacks” on the Public Protector was tantamount to undermining the constitutional protection of each and every citizen, Niehaus added, saying “this is nothing short of treasonous”.

“Some of these attacks have been very personal against Advocate Mkhwebane, and it is the distinct impression of MKMVA that she is also under attack for being a woman,” he said.

“It is truly sad that the insidious patriarchal nature of our society leads to such attacks, which indicate that our society finds it difficult to accept and support strong and independently minded women.”

The women of South Africa appear to have a strong ally in the person of Niehaus. This may or may not be a good thing.


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