When Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane took over from her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, little did Thuli’s chief of staff know he would be shown the exit door soon.
Last week, Mkhwebane made headlines when it emerged that she shoved off Thuli Madonsela’s former chief of staff Bonginkosi Dhlamini – citing concerns about her security.
Dhlamini was reportedly marched out of the office of the Public Protector by Busisiwe’s VIP bouncers after they stormed the office.
Dhlamini, who has been on a one-year contract with the option of renewal based on good performance, said his contract ought to expire at the end of June 2017.
The former chief of staff told reporters that after he was marched out, he stayed at home for two weeks, after which a lower portfolio was assigned to him.
Nevertheless, the Public Protector, on Tuesday, defended her action. She admitted to ordering her bouncers to march Dhlamini out. According to her, she wants to be surrounded by her own team – her preferred workforce.
She insisted that it’s a norm in service for an official to appoint people of his choice to run his office; adding that she didn’t err when she requested for her own team.
Busisiwe added in her statement: “it is common practice that when a new head of institution takes office‚ they prefer their private office to be run by people they have appointed themselves.”
“The private office is similar to a ministry in government circles. Even Adv. Mkhwebane’s predecessor (Madonsela) brought her own team of aides when she took office and‚ at that point‚ staff that previously worked with Adv. Lawrence Mushwana were redeployed elsewhere.”
She requested for understanding in the matter and warned rumour-mongers to desist from spreading baseless stories about her office.