POLITICS

The DA Isn't Worried About Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane Legal Threats. Here's Why.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is well within her rights to take the DA to court, says the party.

02/02/2017 12:40 SAST | Updated 02/02/2017 13:21 SAST

Bring it. That, paraphrased, is the Democratic Alliance's (DA) response to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane threat of legal action against the party.

Speaking at a briefing on her first 100 days in office on Thursday, Mkhwebane raised an allegation made by the opposition party before she was appointed: that she was working as a "spy" for the State Security Agency, while employed as an immigration officer in China. Mkhwebane said she was working for home affairs at the time.

Referencing an interview with News24, Mkhwebane said she had previously invited the party to withdraw their allegation and apologise.

"Within the first 100 days I've given them time to do that, [but] unfortunately they have not done that," she told reporters at a briefing at the public protector's office in Pretoria. "Now I'm seriously considering taking legal action."

Glynnis Breytenbach, DA MP and a former senior state advocate, told The Huffington Post South Africa the party was not spooked.

"We thrive on threats and if she feels an inclination to take us to court she should absolutely do so," said Breytenbach. "She is well within her constitutional rights, and the DA is not going to be withdrawing or apologising any time soon."

The DA was the only political party opposed to Mkhwebane's appointment when she was interviewed in Parliament. Others like the Economic Freedom Fighters initially found her impressive and opted to give her a chance but later bitterly regretted their decision, with leader Julius Malema going as far as calling her a puppet.

Mkhwebane has had a tumultuous first 100 days of office and a slew of key staff have left or been forced out.

"If she had done anything in her first 100 days to convince the DA that we were wrong no one would be happier than us," said Breytenbach. "It's in the best interest this country to have a strong and effective public protector.

"If we were wrong, we would have apologised unreservedly, very publicly. But that hasn't happened. So we wont' be apologising until it happens."

Critics have feared that Mkhwebane is closely tied to Zuma's interests and her first 100 days in office have raised concerns about her independence.

The HuffPost SA has revealed in a series of stories how senior staff associated with Madonsela were being forced out of the office, sometimes wth the office flouting labour regulations to do so.