If you’re concerned about our new Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, you’re not alone.
Huffington Post South Africa’s series of exclusives about the turmoil at her office have consistently been our top read stories, even during the slow festive season period.
With good reason. The signals emanating from the Public Protector Office since Mkhwebane first took over from highly respected Thuli Madonsela have been worrying.
I was cautious, remembering how the media had treated Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng when he was chosen to lead the Constitutional Court.
When she first took office on October 17 I was determined as a journalist and editor not to pre-judge her or fall into the hysteria surrounding her time working at the State Security Agency (SSA)
I was cautious, remembering how the media had treated Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng when he was chosen to lead the Constitutional Court in 2011. There were rightly concerns around his previous judgements around rape and gender based violence.
But there was also a panicked expectation that he would turn out to be nothing more than a puppet placed in the role by President Jacob Zuma. South Africa’s courts have long been a thorn in the side of the corrupt in this country. But Mogoeng surprised the naysayers. He has been firmly independent as a chief justice, despite fears to the contrary.
Madonsela’s term in office set the bar incredibly high
Mkhwebane’s predecessor too, the now mighty Thuli Madonsela, faced criticism, notably from some in the opposition Democratic Alliance. Her independence from the ANC was also questioned. She went to prove them all wrong in the most resounding way possible.
In fact Madonsela’s term in office set the bar incredibly high, after a time of yes men in the role before her.