According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has chosen to absolve the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, despite unequivocal evidence that he in fact lied to Parliament when questioned about his affiliation to #FeesMustFall leader, Mr Mcebo Dlamini. In response to the press statement released by the DA, the Public Protector has reportedly threaten to pursue legal action against Hon. Mike Waters for the report being attached in a hyperlink in the statement. Below is a brief interview Political Analysis South Africa’s Stephanie Naidoo had with Hon. Mike Waters, DA Deputy Chief Whip and Alternate Member at Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Member at Ad Hoc Committee on the South African Broadcasting Corporation Board Inquiry, Alternate Member at Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of the Powers and Privileges Act and Member at Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, on the matter.
Interviewer: What was the context in which Minister Mahlobo misled Parliament?
Hon. Mike Waters: If you refer to the report, Clause 18.104.22.168, Minister Mahlobo states that Mr Dlamini has been to his house several times. He said that in public, and it has been published in the newspaper, but if you refer to Clause 5.1.5 – a question asked in Parliament by Hon. Bozzoli as to whether Mr Dlamini has been to his house, at all, and his response in the following paragraph was “Dlamini has not been to my house” – this is a clear lie; he had visited him two days prior. We find the findings of the Public Protector conclude that he misled Parliament.
The Public Protector has threatened to pursue legal charges against you, for undermining her independence. To what extent is this accurate?
Well, it is not accurate – she must not threaten; she must do something about it.
Is the DA of the opinion that the Public Protector has an agenda for not holding the Executive to account?
We have said it from the word ‘go’. Other reports have come out. But, this specific report proves that she did protect the Executive and not the public at large.
It was also stated that the Speaker to Parliament, in fact, concealed the identities of the individuals who misled the SABC Ad Hoc Committee during their Inquiry. Please could you comment on this.
The report on the witnesses which came before the Ad Hoc Committee on the SABC, was concluded by the lawyers in Parliament and sent to the Speaker. And our problem with the Speaker, was that she was withholding it for several months, and only released it in the last few weeks.
Would you like to add anything which has been missed from the conversation?
As far as the Report from the Public Protector, she did ask in the second last paragraph that we do not release the actual report, and that was not our intention, to do so. What happened is, yesterday, we did a press release on the report – not releasing the actual report, but a staff member inadvertently sent the report with the press release. When it was brought to my attention, because I was in Johannesburg at the time, I immediately phoned the author of the report, the Public Protector’s Office, to inform him and to apologise, and I sent an email to the Public Protector to say that it was not intentional or malicious. I brought it to the Public Protector’s attention that the report had inadvertently been attached to the press release. It was only after that, that the Public Protector issued a press release threatening to take legal action against me.