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Photograph nails the day with evidence by Mkhwebane all...

South Africa

PUBLIC PROTECTOR IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Mpofu feels ‘ambushed’ as photo confirms that witness was with Mkhwebane at Vrede dairy inspection

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane with witness Sphelo Samuel (far right) at the Vrede dairy farm. (Photo: Supplied)

Late on Monday, a photograph presented by evidence leaders showed that Section 194 inquiry witness Sphelo Samuel, Free State head of the Public Protector, had, indeed, been present at a 2017 site inspection at the Vrede Dairy farm with Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

All day, the suspended Mkhwebane’s legal representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu, reminded Samuel during cross-examination that the PP denied Samuel had ever been present, that she did not remember him and that his version “should be dismissed with contempt”.

However, after two hours of searing cross-examination by Mpofu who had labelled Samuel as “sexist”, a disgruntled employee, and as suffering from a superiority complex, the witness produced a photograph corroborating his version of events.

Mpofu had consistently told the committee that no evidence existed of the meeting or any other communication between the witness and his client as the “Vrede” investigation file sent to the PP head office had since “evaporated”.

Until that moment it was Samuel’s word against that of Mkhwebane. 

The photograph was introduced by evidence leader Advocate Ncumisa Mayosi after the lunch break, leading Mpofu to charge that he had been “ambushed”.

Samuel explained that he had been contacted by a colleague who had also been present at the site visit and who had taken a snap of the witness standing right next to Mkhwebane (dressed in pink):

“My own photographs excluded me because I was taking them. These photographs were sent to me by someone else who was also there.”

Mpofu said he had not been forwarded this vital piece of evidence before it was presented to the committee and objected to the manner in which it was introduced.

Previously Samuel had testified that Mkhwebane sought to remove the names of implicated political officials — premier Ace Magashule and MEC for agriculture Mosebenzi Zwane — from her final report on the Gupta-linked R216-million project.

He also testified that Mkhwebane had hounded out senior managers, replacing them with officials from the State Security Agency.

On Tuesday, former CEO Vussy Mahlangu, generally sketched by witnesses as Mkhwebane’s “enforcer”, testified.  

Several suspensions occurred under his watch including that of whistleblower Tebogo Kekana, Samuel and Basani Baloyi who is due to testify.

Baloyi was dismissed by Mkhwebane in October 2019. The public protector subsequently suspended three other senior officials; executive manager Pona Mogaladi, chief investigator Abongile Madiba, chief investigator Lesedi Sekele, and Kekana.

Mahlangu was appointed to the PP’s office pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings related to his position of Deputy Director General at the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The charge by Baloyi was that Mahlangu, apart from acting as Mkhwebane’s enforcer, had interfered with an investigation by the PP into Gugu Nkwinti, Minister of Agriculture at the time.

Mpofu, who was unavailable on Tuesday, was replaced by Advocate Bright Shabalala on behalf of Mkhwebane.

His early gambit was a continuation of Mpofu’s previous attack on witnesses, i.e., that Mahlangu was a “phantom” witness who had been prepared by the evidence leaders and that he had not been keen to testify.

He had preferred, he replied, to give written responses but evidence leaders had provided him with 10,000 pages which they suggested he read as: “I was implicated”.

Mahlangu said he felt he had dealt with all issues and he felt “touched on my name in issues concluded or not.”

Mkhwebane was suspended from office on 9 June. The parliamentary impeachment hearings got underway on July 11.

The hearings continue. DM

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All Comments 38

    • But here, Mpofu made a mockery of himself. How sweet it must have been to see the look on his face when the photograph emerged into evidence! I tip my hat Adv Mayosi!

      • Agreed! There should be a process whereby Samuel can hold Advocate Lying Mpofu accountable for his attack. Methinks we’d then see many good citizens hold his unscrupulous behavior accountable and a price paid – Advocate Penniless Mpufo indeed.

  • Flaky defence and bullying tactics not working.
    His criminal clients getting caught out in lies and now he feels ambushed.
    Shame…

  • It rumour that Mkhwebane had reduced the office to a joke but the truth is even worse. Dali being ambushed made my day. He really is a disgrace to the profession which is a pity as he could be a role model

  • Dali, When you are in a hole, stop digging – just shut up, retire from the law and stop proving to all and sundry what a total nincompoop you are.

  • Thank you Marianne, this is the best thing I’ve read in ages. Give Mpofu his ‘two hours of searing cross-examination’ to swallow the bait and swim off with it, jumping and tail-walking. When he has the line down to the backing, and the hook well set, whip out that photo and strike, exposing his client’s lies and shining a bright light on them. Oh shame, now he he feels ‘ambushed’. He is so good at wriggling out of tight corners and is so slippery, this was the only way to nail him good and proper. It’s called giving someone enough rope to hang himself with. Priceless!

    • It’s not ‘searing – it’s just and unprofessional. Mpofu is disgrace and rich of him to call anyone sexist after his heh-heh comment about ” spending a night together” when a woman judge is being questioned.

  • Liar liar pants on fire! Sadly ethics lose here as no matter how reprehensible a client’s conduct it is telling that legal professionals try and prove the lies and make what is indefensible “truthful”.

  • Unable/incompetent to present a legal case, Mpofu uses gutter tactics to pretend there is a case. The Bar has indeed sunk well below the par.

  • Mpofu accused Samuels of perjury in another instance, and threatened charges.
    Perjury applies to the PP in this instance, though and I hope that it will be considered…

  • Dali’s has been exposed.
    “But the king has no clothes……”
    A fool to believe this client, a bigger fool if he fabricated the scenario himself.

  • Would i be correct in thinking there is little sympathy (according to the comments) for this unfortunate legal practitioner?
    Maybe he brought it on himself?

  • Why was he not available for his big day ?
    Did he see this coming, the others in the picture could have corroborated the fact his client or him was lying.

    • Mkhwebane’s lies have been outrageous from the outset. She appears completely shameless even if there are multiple ways of proving the truth, unless everybody in the picture lies as well. Sadly one can only conclude that Mkhwebane is stupid.

      • Not only stupid but arrogant beyond belief but what a wonderful moment the producing of this photo must have been. Is there footage of Dali Mpofu’s face? Will give anything to see it!

  • It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. It is funny how Mpofu interprets proof of the truth as an ‘ambush’. Could Mpofu rationalise this as an attack against his & his clients human rights?

  • A delightful happy family shot showing the pink and bejewelled PP at her glittering best! Surely one for her to keep forever as a screensaver? Knowing the tool as we all do, however, good ol’ Dali may well come back to say that it is simply a photoshop fraud.

  • Why did the Vrede Dairy file “evaporate?” The disappearance of files and police dockets containing important evidence is a regular occurrence in South Africa. If for no other reason, all files should be digital, cloud based, have an audit trail reflecting all actions, with deletion of documents rendered impossible. The software already exists and implementation would be simple.

  • Mpofu, if Mkhwebane is such a person of impeccable character you can hire her as your sidekick once she is fired. Then you will realise how utterly useless she is.
    When is this circus coming to an end? Total waste of time and good money.

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