Media has been factual in reporting on Mkhwebane’s work: Mashele

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Political analyst Prince Mashele says the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane should not expect the media to only report about her successes.

Mkhwebane has accused the media including the SABC of being biased in its reporting about her office.

Mkhwebane was speaking during a panel discussion titled “How South Africa’s media told my story” at the launch of the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Media Society on Friday.

Mashele says the media has been factual in reporting on Mkhwebane’s work.

“Is it not factual that Advocate Mkhwebane has been losing cases in court? Is it not factual? This is not fiction that was created by this Financial Mail or by the Mail and Guardian or whatever media you want. It is true. We have seen her reports whereby they are even described as ‘nonsensical’ by our courts. I’m not making it up. So, do you expect the media not to report that when the court say your reports are nonsensical?”

Mkhwebane says the narrative that there are several judgments against her office is incorrect.

Recently, slapped with a personal costs order relating her report on the South African Reserve Bank’s funding of Bankorp during apartheid, Advocate Mkhwebane is adamant that the media is colluding and portraying her in a negative light.

She says there are only two judgments currently against the Public Protector.

“The Vrede matter we have appealed because the process is not complete. And then as I said, it’s technicalities, the Absa/Bankorp loan is still being owed till today; but then you find people who are fighting this constitutional institution about side issues and as blacks or people still living in poverty, unemployment and inequality, can benefit from that illegal loan, where two judges indicated as well that that was an unlawful loan.”

Mkhwebane says judges are human beings and fallible, pointing out that many judgments have been overturned in higher courts.

Many of the students attending the discussion have voiced their support for the Public Protector.

“We need to read, analyse and from those facts make up our mind. If there is one thing to take away from this discussion, as consumers of information that’s the responsibility we owe to ourselves,” says Ghalib Galant, Right2Know.

UWC’s Media Society is a campus and community-focused media initiative.