Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lawyers are litigating “through the media”, after it emerged that the president’s legal team had accused Mkhwebane of unlawfully obtaining Financial Intelligence Centre information.

Business Day reported on Tuesday that Ramaphosa’s lawyers have accused Mkhwebane of unlawfully using information contained in a Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report to make adverse findings about his CR17 ANC election campaign.

The report said Ramaphosa’s team has asked the centre whether it intends to address the alleged offences committed by the Public Protector.

Mkhwebane was in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday to meet with KwaZulu-Natal lawmakers when questions on the new information were put to her.

“It is so unfortunate that the same president’s lawyers are litigating through the media and it is a challenge for us as an institution. They should not be perpetuating this unnecessary litigation through the media,” she told journalists on Wednesday.

A calm and terse Mkhwebane said she would address all matters in court papers.

“We will address those issues when we prepare our response to court and we will present our position as far as that is concerned. This is a matter of law.

“The journalists should focus on what the law says about the conduct of our leaders and the issue of good governance, transparency and accountability, instead of us focusing on these issues and litigating through the media.”

‘Good governance’

Mkhwebane said that her office was meant to support and strengthen democracy.

“We are not here to be antagonistic toward government. We are here to help them in making sure we have a country which is run through the process of good governance, transparency and accountability.”

She said officials and politicians had to be accountable.

“They are accountable as servants of the people because they are placed there by the people, therefore they need to be accountable to the people. As an institution we are here to bring those issues to their attention.”

Mkhwebane is currently on a roadshow in KwaZulu-Natal to engage members of various government executives.

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