Just hours after being sworn into office by President Jacob Zuma, the new Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane outlined her key priorities on Thursday.
And making her office accessible to remotes parts of the country is on that list.
“I will concentrate more on people at grass roots level, making sure that they have access to the offices on their own,” she said in an interview on 702.
“My predecessor (Thuli Madonsela) is finalising the state capture case. She will be finalising the preliminary report.
Mkhwebane said that she will focus on old cases first.
“I will prioritise old cases, because I don’t want a situation where the same institution that is investigating is delaying the finalisation of those cases.”
Her nomination by an ad hoc parliamentary committee was endorsed by the National Assembly a month ago.
Mkhwebane has the support of most of the opposition parties, with the notable exception of the DA.
Mkhwebane has worked extensively in various government posts. Her most recent position was director of the Country Information and Co-operation Management Unit for the Department of Home Affairs.
The DA has said that Mkhwebane’s stint as an immigration officer in China for the Department of Home Affairs suggested she was a spy and that’s made her unsuitable to head a chapter 9 institution that needed to be independent.
“It does not put pressure on me. My predecessor worked for the Department of Justice and moved to the South African Law Commission, ” says Mkhewbane.
“I have a lot of experience in the government, which is an advantage to the office because I know how the government operates. I am not threatened or concerned about that.
“I will be doing my best, without fear nor favour. I will be subject only to the constitution and the rule of law and nothing else. I am not entering the office to serve anybody’s agenda. I am apolitical; I don’t belong to any political party.”
Mkhwebane, an advocate with 20 years’ experience in law, dismissed the party’s allegation that she was on the payroll of the State Security Agency.
She is due to take office on October 15.