Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and former state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba will not face prosecution in cases that the two had laid against each other, the Hawks say.
Earlier this year, Letsatsi-Duba opened a criminal case against Mkhwebane, charging her with theft of information and violation of South Africa’s security laws, after she allegedly laid her hands on a classified state document, according to City Press.
According to the publication, low-key warfare developed between Mkhwebane and Letsatsi-Duba after numerous exchanges of correspondence and a meeting between the two failed to resolve a dispute that can be traced back to the allegations of a rogue intelligence unit at the SA Revenue Service (SARS) and factional bickering within the ANC.
Central to the dispute, was a classified investigative report belonging to the State Security Agency (SSA), which Letsatsi-Duba’s predecessor David Mahlobo had commissioned in 2014 – through the inspector-general of intelligence (IGI) – to look into media allegations of illegal operations by the spooks to destabilise SARS. The report also dealt with issues at SARS that needed closer scrutiny. The inspector-general could not probe these because the office did not have a mandate over the revenue agency.
According to City Press, Mkhwebane had repeatedly tried to get the report officially from Letsatsi-Duba. The publication later learnt that a copy was “leaked” to the Public Protector by unidentified people. Letsatsi-Duba then approached the police in an attempt to get the copy back. A criminal complaint was lodged against Mkhwebane regarding illegal possession of classified information.
‘Subjected to a thorough investigation’
According to News24, Mkhwebane opened a counter-charge against Letsatsi-Duba over her alleged interference with the functioning of the office of the Public Protector.
The charges were laid on March 13. in Brooklyn, Pretoria.
According to Mkhwebane, Letsatsi-Duba had failed to make available a declassified document that she required in connection with an investigation into alleged violation of the Executive Members’ Ethics Code by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
“It is my respectful view that the Minister’s failure to avail the declassified report as subpoenaed amounts to contempt of the Public Protector and interference with the functioning of my office, and is therefore an offence,” Mkhwebane said in a statement.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said in a statement on Tuesday that the charges had been referred to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) for further investigation.
“The complaints were subjected to a thorough investigation by a senior officer from the DPCI. After conclusion of the investigation, the case dockets were submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions who declined to prosecute based on the evidence and the nature of the contraventions of the two statutes under consideration.”
Mulaudzi said the two parties had been informed of the DPP’s decisions.