SAPS ‘vindicated by court ruling’, while Public Protector ‘unhappy with snide remarks’

The South African Police Service says it has been vindicated by the ruling of the High Court in Pretoria that set aside the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s finding against Police Minister Bheki Cele.

According to Mkhwebane’s report, there had been undue delay on the part of Cele and the police in providing protection to two KwaZulu-Natal whistleblowers.

The informants were witnesses in Mkhwebane’s investigation into alleged multi-million-rand corruption in the Umzimkhulu Municipality.

“Minister Cele has always been of the view that the Public Protector’s report was flawed. This is the very reason why the minister took it under judicial review. So, this outcome has vindicated the SAPS and has, once again, emphasised why the Public Protector’s office needs to conduct its work thoroughly and diligently. It has always been clear that the protection of witnesses is the responsibility of the NPA,” says Police Department Spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba.

‘Snide remarks’

However, Mkhwebane has taken exception to criticism that she does not take due diligence when conducting investigations.

“The Public Protector takes exception to snide remarks contained in a media statement by the SAPS suggesting that she does not take due diligence when conducting investigations. In March 2019, the Minister addressed a public event in Mamelodi where he took swipe at the Public Protector in relation to the matter at hand, saying Adv. Mkhwebane ‘uyaphapha’ (she’s too forward),” reads the statement in part.

“The Ministers’s attention is hereby drawn to last week’s Constitutional Court ruling in which the justices on the bench unanimously cautioned that ‘To mount a bad faith attack on (Public Protector’s office) would surely work to undermine the constitutional project of the Republic’.”

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