A report by a global anti-corruption journalism organisation has revealed that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane received a $5000 (approximately R70 000) payment linked to a broader network involving the Gupta family, in 2014, but in a statement issued late on Tuesday, Mkhwebane dismissed the report as “malicious and defamatory”.

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported that the payment to Mkhwebane was identified by multi-national bank HSBC as part of the bank’s broader internal investigation into Gupta linked entities. There is no indication of wrongdoing by Mkhwebane, but the payment is part of thousands of transactions the bank noticed as part of a broader investigation into kickbacks from China North Rail, that was awarded large amounts of the R50bn 1064 locomotive deal by Transnet.

Mkhwebane has slammed the report and expressed her view that the story was part of a series of events that were an orchestrated campaign and concerted effort to discredit her only because she was able to muster enough courage to hold those seen as ‘untouchable’ to account”.