Public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has sought to clarify her controversial tweet last Friday after she got herself in trouble over her comment on Jacques Pauw’s new explosive book, The Presidents Keepers.
Following reports that the South African State Security Agency (SSA) issued Pauw and his publisher a “cease and desist” order from publishing his book about President Jacob Zuma’s alleged tax evasion, Mkhwebane made a comment that has been widely seen as discouraging people from buying the book.
At the time, advocate Vuyani Ngalwana SC tweeted: “Yho! I wasn’t going to read the Pauw book. But now I’m interested??. At least I have a discerning disposition & can tell rubbish from fact.”
In response to the tweet, Mkhwebane replied: “And fall into the trap of increasing sales for certain individuals don’t think it’s a wise move SC, boleka from oyithengile [borrow from someone who bought a copy].”
And fall into the trap of increasing sales for certain individuals don’t think it’s a wise move SC , boleka from oyithengile
— Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane (@AdvBMkhwebane) November 3, 2017
Now Mkhwebane says her comment was taken out of context, and that she never said people must not buy Pauw’s book.
“Nowhere does she say, ‘don’t buy the book’. Her tweet was taken out of context,” Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Cleopatra Mosana, on Sunday told News24.
Mosana told the news website that the public protector had the constitutional right to freedom of speech, but also felt that her comment had been misinterpreted.
Mkhwebane’s comment should be seen in the context of one friend bantering with another, asking to read the book when the other was finished with it, Mosana said.