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Public Protector considering charges against DA chief whip

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Public Protector considering charges against DA chief whip

Photo by Reuters
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

5th September 2017

By: News24Wire

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is considering pressing legal charges against Democratic Alliance (DA) deputy chief whip Mike Waters for releasing a provisional report to the media, her spokesperson said on Monday.

Waters issued a statement, on behalf of the DA, on Monday morning where he said he was "deeply disappointed" that Mkhwebane found State Security Minister David Mahlobo not guilty for lying to Parliament.

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Waters maintained that Mahlobo lied when he said student leader Mcebo Dlamini never visited his house, despite previously publicly saying Dlamini did.

Attached to the statement was a hyperlink to the provisional report by Mkhwebane.

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Waters had five days to respond to the Public Protector’s provisional report, but instead chose to issue a statement to media, Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Cleopatra Mosana said in a statement.

"In accordance with section 7(1) (b) (i), read with section 7(2), of the Public Protector Act, the Public Protector determined that the contents of the provisional closing report shall not be disclosed to any other person," Mosana said.

She said the Public Protector Act states that any person who contravenes the section may be fined an amount less than R40 000 or imprisoned for a period not exceeding 12 months.

Waters could not be reached for comment. DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen told News24 that the party is investigating how the report was released.

Mosana said this is not the first time the DA has contravened the Public Protector Act.

She said in July 2017, the DA published a letter which contained certain confidential information regarding the office's investigation into former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s alleged R30-million pension benefit.

After the letter, Mkhwebane wrote a letter to DA leader Mmusi Maimane where she expressed her disappointment.

"She requested members of the DA to refrain from disseminating correspondence received from her office to the media or any social network, as this has the potential to undermine or compromise her investigations," Mosana said.

The Public Protector is extremely disappointed by the continued violation of the Public Protector Act by the Democratic Alliance, Mosana said.

She said the DA's conduct "undermines the independence and effectiveness of the Public Protector".

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