Mkhwebane keeps faith ahead of crucial vote

Embattled Public ProtectorBusisiwe Mkhwebane has thrown her hands in the air and is girding her loins to be sent to Calvary.

“Let God’s will be done,” says an emotionally drained Mkhwebane.

The outgoing public protector was talking on our new platformSunday World Engage ahead of the National Assembly’s sitting tomorrow to decide her fate.

The National Assembly will convene to vote on the report of the Section 194 inquiry that found that Mkhwebane was not fit for office and recommended her impeachment.

The impeachment will abruptly end her career as the public protector, just a few weeks before her seven-year term comes to an end next month.

Although she is ready to be removed from office Mkhwebane also believes that “God’s hand” will be long enough to reach all the 400 MPs’ consciences, including that of President Cyril Ramaphosa, to prevail upon his party members.

That will suffice to save the day and see her finish her term, which is a few weeks from its natural end, she says.

“I would say to them (MPs), do not do it. It is not worth it. I am left with a few days, just leave me to go. I only wanted to tell my side of the story. I never had any ulterior motives,” she says.

“When they voted originally to adopt the DA MP Natasha Mazzone’s motion, the president, ANC national chair Gwede Mantashe and Deputy President Paul [Mashatile] went to the ANC (caucus) to tell them to toe the party line.”

She says: “I have always given president Ramaphosa the benefit of the doubt. Possibly he too never thought it would reach this stage (impeachment).”

“If his conscience could just change for tomorrow. You never know, maybe God can change him – you never know.”

But should the threshold needed to make her fall be reached, that too will be God’s will, she says.

However, she asserts, she would not go down without a fight.

“I am never going to leave just like that. I am going to court to ask for a review. I never completed my testimony.”

She adds: “I only testified on two of the five counts I was charged with. I will go back to the same courts that are negative towards me. The courts will see when that happens.”

Mkhwebane also said that she took the job with reservations from her family members, including her mother.

Her mother, she says, had witnessed the “abuse” that her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, and feared her daughter would experience the same wrath.

The same people who advised her against accepting what she deemed “God’s calling” suffered immensely from the struggles she encountered in the past
seven years.

Her mother passed away last year after witnessing relentless “attacks” from those who questioned her tenure.

As for her children – a son, and a daughter – she says have decided to remove themselves from normal life.

This was to insulate themselves from hearing about her constant upheavals since leading the powerful Chapter 9 institution.

“I should have spent more time with my family. Sometimes my children and husband felt like they couldn’t penetrate me in getting me to talk about my struggles.

“Sometimes, for my peace of mind, I would say I do not want to talk about this.

“They thought I am blocking them, but most of the time it was for my own sanity,” says Mkhwebane.

“My children tried to convince me to quit severa times. The pressure of society, sometimes their friends would make funny comments about the things that were being said about me,” she says.

“My son ended up not having friends. It made them to keep away from society. They cannot wait for my term to end because they are saying they also have lives.

“My mother also said ‘if they (the Ramaphosa administration) do not want to work with you, they must give you your monies and you separate from them’. She was a prayerful woman, and her prayers kept me going.

“Even now she planted those prayers, and I am grateful and thankful.”

As a Christian church-woman of faith who travelled every Sunday to KwaMhlanga to worship, she told this newspaper that fellow congregants too had become her rock. They kept her going, even when it appeared impossible to do so.

Grounded in her roots as a village girl, she says her saddest moments are those from her ancestral home, who believe she was serving at the behest of the governing ANC that is now on the cusp of voting her out.

“A lot of people in my village are removed from politics. Although I was never a card-carrying member of the ANC, a lot of them, when they see me in parliament, they thought I am working in parliament.

“And others would be saying, ‘thina (we) are going to vote for the ANC because of Mkhwebane, and I am like, how do you do that when the ANC is doing this to me? But to them, I am working in parliament, and I am ANC.”

In her view, the genesis of her problems was when she touched “the untouchable” by recommending the review of the South African Reserve Bank mandate.

She made the recommendation knowing that she was treading an uncharted terrain with powerful forces.

At that point, she knew even death was a reality.

However, as she once proclaimed: “If I perish, I perish.” And this is a reality she is willing to accept, as long as God is willing.

But hers, she adds, was not done maliciously. All she sought to achieve was to contribute to a just society, where the poor realise the “better life for all” promised at the dawn of the democratic dispensation.

Says Mkhwebane: “For me to start investigating the Reserve Bank, it is owned by private shareholders, which is a few families that own monies of the world, and if you come in and say the Reserve Bank mandate should be benefiting the public, you will see flames.

“One of my family members was working in the embassy in Washington and attended a function in New York, and the president (Ramaphosa) was there and took a picture with George Soros of the OpenSociety Foundation NGO. And apparently, some of those NGOs asked, ‘when are you getting rid of this public protector’?

“It was around 2019. And in 2020, Mazzone lodged a motion to remove me.

“The same issue of the Reserve Bank, advocate (Paul) Hoffman opened a criminal case against me, and I am still facing that, and then I am being persecuted for the same matter, and now I am being removed by parliament.

“I read a book by Stephen Goodson titled, Inside the South African Reserve Bank, Its Origins and Secrets Exposed.

“After reading that book, I was shaking because it says almost all people who touched the Reserve Bank of each country because it is owned by these few families, they were killed.

“So that was one of the things I was expecting to happen to me but because I believed God allowed me to be in that office to protect the public, if God allowed me to be there and then I get killed, possibly the issue of ‘If I perish, I perish’ comes from there.”

But if the Monday crunch time vote goes against her, as Christian believers like her would say, “it is well with my soul”.

Mkhwebane believes she did the best she could, and that the situation she finds herself in is tantamount to injustice.

“It is two percent of my work that I am being removed for, but 98% of the work I excelled and did what I was appointed to do.”

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