Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has lashed out at SABC News for giving “apartheid judges” a platform to criticise chapter 9 institutions.
In a tweet from her personal Twitter account on Monday, Mkhwebane suggested that the country may be facing a constitutional crisis as a result.
She was reacting to an interview retired Judge Johann Kriegler had with the state broadcaster on Sunday.
Zondo Commission’s costs
Kriegler, who is also the chairperson of advocacy group Freedom Under Law, said Mkhwebane isn’t fit for office and criticised her for questioning the costs incurred by the commission of inquiry into state capture, which is chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
In an explanatory affidavit filed in response to the inquiry’s court application to extend its term, Mkhwebane argued that the inquiry has incurred unnecessary costs so far.
She said, “There are those, like me, who believe that the work could have been efficiently done by employing a fraction of that complement of advocates and without such a top-heavy selection.”
However, Kriegler disagreed with Mkhwebane, “I do not believe the Public Protector has any reliable idea of the cost of the Zondo Commission.”
He added, “Judging by what has been revealed, unearthed so far before the commission, whatever costs is money well spent.
“If the [Public Protector] thinks she can do a better job of work, one would remind her what happened in the Vrede Estina inquiry where she managed to traverse the ground and find nothing.”
Mkhwebane hit back at SABC News and Kriegler in her tweet. She wrote, “It’s a concern to see retired judges given platforms by @SABCNewsOnline to criticise chapter 9 institution without facts.
“These are [the] consequences of absorbing apartheid judges who never apologised for atrocities of apartheid. We really seem to be facing a constitutional crisis.”
On Sunday, the Public Protector’s office also issued a statement expressing disappointment at “blatant distortions” about her explanatory affidavit by some sections of the media.
Mkhwebane could soon face a Democratic Alliance-sponsored parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
Parliament confirmed last week that political parties had submitted nominations of members to form an independent panel to establish whether there is a prima facie case against her.
However, she has taken Thandi Modise, the Speaker of the National Assembly, to court in a bid to halt the process, arguing that the recently adopted rules for her removal are unconstitutional.