Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane Shifts Her Focus On De Lille amidst removal threat

The nations public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is still going about her duty despite criticisms and removal proceedings she is facing from the national assembly. The protector is currently investigating public works minister Patricia de Lille for alleged nepotism and interference with supply chain processes.

Oupa Segalwe, the public protectors’s spokesperson confirmed that they had received a complaint against De Lille; The complaint appears to be part of the ongoing fight between De Lille and the department’s director-general Sam Vukela. In the complaint, the anonymous complainant places Vukela at the centre of alleged “victimisation” by De Lille

The minister reacting to the investigation said she was convinced the complainants were corrupt elements in the department that she was dealing with, revealing that she would cooperate with Mkhwebane in her investigation of the complaint.

De Lille said “The faceless and nameless people [behind the complaint] are part of the corrupt people that I am dealing with and the SIU (Special Investigating Unit) is investigating. “I will not be deterred by them. They know that law-enforcement agencies are after them. I will give full cooperation of the allegation they allegedly sent to the public protector.”

Sam Vukela, the department’s director-general has been under fire following a damning public service commission (PSC) report against him, which recommended that he faces the music for his role in the irregular appointment of several senior managers. The complaint at Mkhwebane’s office was lodged the same week that De Lille was meant to share her input with the PSC on their second investigation. In the complaint, it is alleged that De Lille was “causing stress” to Vukela such that his wife had allegedly left him.

Vukela has however istanced himself from the complaint, saying people who were obsessed with sowing confusion within the department were behind it. He said “I reject the assertion with the contempt it deserves and I am not interested in furthering the motives of faceless people whose purpose is to promote confusion in the department of public works and infrastructure.”

De Lille is also facing allegation of nepotism, or allegedly hiring a Cynthia Jefferys, who is alleged to be her sister, is not rearing its head for the first time. ANC’s Songezo Mjongile had made the same claims in 2011 when De Lille was contesting for Cape Town mayorship under the Democratic Alliance.

Among other allegations raised in the complaint against De Lille, is one in which instructed Vukela to appoint a company that allegedly bankrolled the minister’s home, the complainant alleges that the company is “another Bosasa.”

The complaint read that “She goes to public works to look for reasons to appoint this company, Just after her appointment, the minister stopped the disposal of land as she and her family were not benefitting, again interfering in procurement.”

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