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Media asked to leave Public Protector impeachment probe for committee to meet in private

Media asked to leave Public Protector impeachment probe for committee to meet in private
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Maverick / Leila Dougan) | Richard Dyantyi. (Photo: RSA Parliament) | Bianca Mvuyana. (Photo: Supplied) | Rodney Mataboge. (Photo: RSA Parliament)

The resumption at 10am of the Section 194 inquiry into suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ground to halt on Wednesday almost as soon as it had kicked off.

Shortly after welcoming everyone in the room and on virtual platforms, chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi said the committee was set to hear from Rodney Mataboge, chief investigator with the Public Protector South Africa.

However, within minutes, Parliament’s legal adviser, Fatima Ibrahim, told the committee that “the matter that I raised, I wished to raise in a private closed meeting of the committee. I am asking all media to leave.”

By 10.19am on day 48, 283 online die-hards kept watching the parliamentary channel on YouTube while the committee deliberated.

Mataboge was summoned to the inquiry when Bianca Mvuyana, an investigator with the Public Protector who worked under Mataboge and a witness for Mkhwebane, indicated she was not keen to testify “on anyone’s behalf”. 

Last week, Mvuyana told the committee and Mkhwebane she would make a formal statement only if her superior, Mataboge, was also called.

Peanut gallery chimes in

While they waited, the commentariat on the online peanut gallery began to chat among themselves while the screen remained inactive.

Soon speculation was rife that Mataboge was seeking “immunity” for spilling all the beans.

Firstly, this comitee (sic) cannot grant such immunity and this guy com clean..hahahhaha. Gtfo,” Jabu bashed out on his keyboard, his legal analysis spot-on.

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With regard to whether Mkhwebane would ever take the stand, Moses opined that “she has the right not to, but obviously all evidence against her will remain uncontested, her only play is to delay till her term ends so she gets her retirement package.”

Read in Daily Maverick:Madonsela vs Mkhwebane – PP face-off in impeachment inquiry to go ahead

Simon chipped in that what was irritating him this morning was how Advocate Nasreen Bawa, evidence leader for the committee “pronounces Tshepo! I cringe all the time she calls him Chepo! I would not be able to work with her when she can’t make an effort to get the pronunciation right.”

Mataboge is the last witness before former public protector Thuli Madonsela is expected to appear at the inquiry on 1 March. After that, 10 days have been set down for Mkhwebane and her legal team, led by Advocate Dali Mpofu, to set out her defence.

The hearing is scheduled to continue, in which case Daily Maverick will pick up our coverage. DM


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