Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says her job is not to protect President Jacob Zuma, and that he will be probed if his actions amount to misconduct.

She defended a complaint she lodged with police over the leaking of audio clips of three interviews, one of them between Zuma and her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, linked to Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

“If the president has committed misconduct or there is a service failure from the president, the president will be investigated,” Mkhwebane said from the sidelines of a community meeting in Khayelitsha on Thursday.

“I am here to defend and to implement the Constitution. And I need to categorically state that the Constitution provides for the rights of everyone.

“So, I am not here to protect one person.
My role is to protect the public. So I am not defending the president.”

She would not comment on Zuma’s application for a judicial review of Madonsela’s State of Capture report, because her office had not yet been privy to the grounds for the application.

Madonsela’s report is a probe into claims that the wealthy Gupta family had a hand in key Cabinet appointments, and possibly the awarding of lucrative state tenders. She recommended that Zuma establish an inquiry to further investigate the allegations.

Mkhwebane said Madonsela’s interviews with Zuma, EFF leader Julius Malema and former ANC MP and whistle-blower Vytjie Mentor had been leaked. This needed to be investigated to protect the integrity of the public protector’s office, she said.

She said Madonsela had already acknowledged making the Zuma interview public, after he claimed Madonsela had not given him the opportunity to answer her questions.

The audio clip and transcript reflect Madonsela’s fruitless attempts at getting a comment from Zuma.

The Malema and Mentor interviews were subsequently leaked.

“So why must we not ask the police to investigate to determine who is the source?” Mkhwebane asked. – News24