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Committee for Section 194 Hears Public Protector’s Security Head Was Accused of Not Providing Adequate Support

The Committee for Section 194 Enquiry into the Public Protector’s (PP), Ad Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office heard that the former Head of the State Security Agency (SSA) Mr Arthur Fraser informed the former head of security in the Office of the PP, Mr Baldwin Neshunzhi, that he was not providing the support he was employed to provide to the Office of the PP.

According to Mr Neshunzhi evidence, Mr Fraser indicated that Adv Mkhwebane complained about the lack of support. Mr Neshunzhi said Adv Mkhwebane made this complaint at the end of 2019. “At the time I did not know how precisely I failed in my job as that was not said to me by the Public Protector. I did not know how I failed to support the Public Protector. As far as I was aware, there was no security issues and when the Public Protector went on roadshows, I ensured that all the arrangements were made and I fulfilled my responsibilities,” said Mr Neshunzhi.

Committee Chairperson Mr Qubudile Dyantyi sought clarity from Mr Neshunzi as Mr Fraser was not with SSA in 2019, but a Commissioner of Correctional Services. The witness said he will have to check the date.

Mr Neshunzi told the committee that there was an expectation that he would be the eyes and the ears of the Office, and he was letting the PP down. Mr Neshunzi said he was informed by Adv Mkhwebane that there was an atmosphere of resistance against her in the Office and he was asked to see how to overcome it. He said he told Adv Mkhwebane that perhaps she was not adequately accessible to the people and suggested that she must spend one afternoon going around in the Office mingling and greeting people.

The committee also heard that in 2018 Mr Neshunzi was tasked to investigate whether there was something wrong with the Office’s leave system. But nothing wrong with the leave system was found after the investigation. He said he was informed that there was a training workshop that was arranged for him at the SSA.

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