South Africa


Court judgments are ‘opinions’, argue Mkhwebane and Mpofu while praising Piet ‘Decuplets’ Rampedi

Court judgments are ‘opinions’, argue Mkhwebane and Mpofu while praising Piet ‘Decuplets’ Rampedi
Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Section 194 impeachment inquiry on 16 March 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / ER Lombard)

‘The untouchables’ and ‘big business’ who donated funds to the CR17 campaign were being ‘protected’, while her life was in danger, Busisiwe Mkhwebane complained to the Section 194 inquiry on Thursday.

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and her legal representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu (fetching in a blue-and-white Xhosa headdress) on Thursday revived and showcased evidence used during Mkhwebane’s investigation into donations to then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential bid in 2017.

“For me, this is a matter of life and death. I am being accused of gross negligence, of targeting people and misconduct, and I think if you go back to the charge, I am trying to prove the evidence that was before me,” she told the Section 194 committee investigating her fitness to hold office.

Mkhwebane’s report on the CR17 campaign was set aside by lower courts as “irrational” and “fatally flawed”. Constitutional Court Judge Chris Jafta confirmed these rulings, saying Mkhwebane had moulded the wording of the Executive Ethics Code in her report for her own purpose, with no authority to do so.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Another Mkhwebane report bites the dust, and it’s all clear for an impeachment inquiry” 

Mkhwebane is accused of inserting the words “deliberate and inadvertently misleading” so that it could match the evidence.

“Having effected the change in the code, the Public Protector proceeded to conclude that the President had violated the code. It is unacceptable that the Public Protector did what no law had authorised her to do,” Jafta said at the time.

On Thursday, Mkhwebane and Mpofu repeatedly stated that neither accepted court judgments or rulings, and that these were not cast in stone.

Mkhwebane’s refusal to accept the decision of the courts resulted in her launching a rescission application, which failed, after which she laid a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission against the now-retired Judge Jafta over his ruling.

It had, she asserted, “exposed me to unwelcome criminal, civil and professional proceedings as a legal practitioner”.

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

‘Opposition Party plots’

On Wednesday, Mkhwebane accused the Democratic Alliance and the governing African National Congress of plotting together and being in “cahoots” in seeking to have her impeached. 

The entire process, she claimed, was a political witch-hunt because she was a black woman who had excelled at her job, a little David with a sling taking on Goliath.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Busisiwe Mkhwebane claims probe nothing more than ANC and DA political witch-hunt for touching ‘untouchables’

On Thursday, Mkhwebane said the complaint about Ramaphosa’s campaign donations had come from the then-DA leader, Mmusi Maimane. It was also Maimane who brought the supposed beneficiaries of the Guptas’ Vrede Dairy scam to her offices. She had not interacted with them previously.

Whereas the DA appeared to be working hand-in-glove with the ANC  to plot her impeachment; in the CR17 matter, it seems the DA was ganging up on its “partner” the ANC, its leader and the President of the country.

Maimane’s complaint was followed by another on the same issue by EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu.

Much of what flowed from the testimony by Mkhwebane has already been hashed out in litigation to defend this particular report. 

The millions that had circulated between accounts pointed to suspected “money laundering”, as Maimane put it, and with which Mkhwebane agreed.

These funders were “very important economic players in the South African economy” and the money they had donated could raise “reasonable suspicion that they were buying influence”, said Mkhwebane.

“What I’m trying to show is the untouchables, some of them being in the big business, which, yes, the information has been sealed and hence I’m saying the process that was followed in sealing them, which we never agreed with when we were litigating because it was just sealed in chambers.” 

She claimed this had been done to prevent the records from being made public.

In a day of selective testimony, much of it by omission, there was no mention that the records were sealed by Judge Aubrey Ledwaba as they had contained personal details. But the evidence leader, Advocate Nazreen Bawa, is bound to fill in gaps during her cross-examination of Mkhwebane.

The court itself had access to all the statements and emails that formed the basis of Mkhwebane’s investigation and conclusions.

Mighty Piet ‘Decuplets’ Rampedi

One of the first journalists to break the CR17 funding “scandal” was Piet Rampedi, the former editor of the Independent Group’s Pretoria News, and of the fake stolen “decuplets” story.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Piet Rampedi resigns from Independent Media, still insisting his decuplet story is accurate – statement

Another journalist who had worked on the first CR17 leaks was Mzilikazi wa Afrika, a former Sunday Times staffer and a key part of the investigative team that worked on SARS “rogue unit” stories, which were later retracted. 

Mpofu on Thursday hailed both as “ace” journalists and praised Rampedi for having one of the most “illustrious careers”, including at the Sunday Times.

Just to recap what is already public knowledge: the leaked CR17 bank statements revealed millions of rands transferred between the CR17 accounts and the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation. The names were made public in a leak before the sealing of the record.

Mkhwebane told the committee the three biggest donations — of between R30-million and R51-million — were from the same donor.

CR17 donors included former Imperial Holdings chief executive Mark Lamberti, financial services company Sygnia, board member Andre Crawford-Brunt, Goldman Sachs Southern African chief executive Colin Coleman and Eskom board member Sifiso Dabengwa.

The eNCA director and owner of Hosken Consolidated Investments, Johnny Copelyn, was reported to have donated R2-million, while former Absa chief executive Maria Ramos forked out R1-million to one of the CR17 trust accounts.

The courts later found that Mkhwebane had failed to prove that Ramaphosa received the funding as a personal benefit which should have been declared to Parliament.

These large sums of money circulating from private companies, “when looked at carefully” created the risk of some sort of “State Capture” by those making donations, Mkhwebane said. This was a view expressed in former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s minority judgment in that matter.

Mkhwebane said what she aimed to do was “convince the committee that, upon any objective enquiry, there will be no option but to endorse the views expressed in the minority [Mogoeng] judgment, whilst acknowledging the legal status of the majority judgment”.

Think about it.

All this depended, she added, on whether the committee “adopts the view that its role is to rubber-stamp the relevant court judgments or to independently enquire into the issues raised in the charges”. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Is she and Mpofu snorting Omo?

  • William Kelly says:

    ROFL. Well I am of the legal opinion that seeing how court judgements are merely advisory as she and Mpofu put it, that her legal ‘opinions’ as she published can thus also be ignored as they are not cast in stone. Ditto the judgements, ermm, I mean opinions, that have gone in her favour (can’t think of any) – but why not? It’s a free for all now isn’t it? I for one am very happy to see the LPC’s hand in all of this – in effect condoning this – it means that now I can be a lawyer too since my opinion of my legal brilliance is now clearly sufficient. Whoo hoo – my rates are very expensive but my arguments in court, I mean, location of the gathering of the (legally) opinionated will ensure endless entertainment! Try me out – how far wrong can you possibly go?

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    I’d love to see Mpofu in a blue and white Xhosa headdress!

  • Peter Slingsby says:

    The lady and her tramp are both clearly gaga

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    and this woman is a lawyer? anyone with one brain cell knows that judgements are based on sound legal principles based also on the law, good or bad. to state that what judges deliver are opinions is one reason for her to go and pay back all the money the over burdened tax payer has paid out for her opinions!

  • Romy Romy says:

    Because I am a strong Black successful woman … the victim mentality played over and over again. Phew

  • Andrew W says:

    This has gone on too long. How much further should we taxpayers put us with this amateur clown show. It’s infuriating to have to indulge nonsense like this. A microcosm of the broader ills in SA. Can we get the adults back in charge please – The Manuels, Madonsela’s, Motlante’s…

  • dmpotulo says:

    I rest my case, Court Judgements are ” opinions”. This comes from the mouths of two Advocates one has taken Silk and the other has never practiced law.

  • Thomas Risi says:

    It just goes on and on. The more lies you tell the more one you want to beleave them. I have noticed this is not endemic to South Africa. (Trump has learnt well) Goverment we have a strong constitution, STOP allowing these people from underminding the rule of law. The longer you allow these lies to peddled we question your authority and abilities. 10 days with a fixed budget for an inquiry should have been enough.

  • Bruce Q says:

    In other words, this Moegoe Mkhwebane is suggesting that the previous government (the Nationalist Party), and it’s immoral Apartheid laws were actually correct!
    Because they were an “endorsed” minority, and the majority only needed to be “acknowledged”.
    This is going to make a great film one day. A dark comedy, filled with black humour.

  • Peter Doble says:

    Dear God, it is beyond belief. Lulu de loop-o and Delusional Dali – how can a country with any shred of credibility countenance such total and utter nonsense??

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The charade called Section 194 hearings by cheque collectors in the adult day care centre is the most abusive process by people who have failed to hold to account thieves, corrupt and incompetent executives that have brought our country into a stone age through blackouts. Nobody holds a brief
    for Mkhwebane but the selective reporting of the proceedings by the Daily Maverick is very glaring. When Thuli Madonsela called a judgement an opinion there was no such reporting even her temerity to say that she gives lectures on her legal garbage, this journalist did not hear her saying that on the NEF judgement. Neither did she write an opinion on the SABS judgement that was scathing on her. This is patently biased reporting that lacks objectivity. This is because Thuli Madonsela is their darling. The conduct of that Chairperson who violates the rights of Mkhwebane as a matter of routine and his rudeness is ignored because she and her legal representative must be nailed. What kind of journalism is that? Providing a one sided narrative that is informed by a particular political slant is incorrect and is a disservice to journalism. Mkhwebane has been given 10 days to respond to six months of evidence by the Chairperson and the Committee that has already found her guilty anyway as there is no pretence by members of that committee. The consequences of the impeachment are lost for the office in this reporting because the process will weaken that office and many people are complicit.

  • virginia crawford says:

    Professor Thuli Madonsela is a brilliant, strong, black woman! If it was a witch hunt, it’s the first one in history that actually found a witch – brewing and plotting- with her loud mouthed, but inept apprentice. Two advocates who think court rulings and judgements are opinions? Welcome to the theatre of the truly absurd – funded by tax payers and produced by the ANC and LPC.

  • William Dryden says:

    Here we go again, bringing out the race card, The entire process, she claimed, was a political witch-hunt because she was a black woman who had excelled at her job, a little David with a sling taking on Goliath. She was incompetent and the courts showed that, however Mpofu will try his hardest to get her vindicated no matter how long it takes and how much money he can make out of it.

  • Confucious Says says:

    Awesome! Stating that she does not believe in the law! Just when you thought that this circus clown could not say anything dumber…

  • Cape Doctor says:

    Such self-aggrandizement, such disdain for the judiciary, judicial process and Law in general. Nothing more that the committee has to hear in order to boot this deluded revisionist out of office. Unfortunately, they are still going to be regaled for another week at least, with tales of conspiracy, persecution, “untouchables” and WMC.

  • Epsilon Indi says:

    I see Ms Thamm is at her best again, not a single negative remark about Mkhwebane who very clearly suffers from a gigantic case of Dunning-Kruger Effect. Mkhwebane can say anything she likes and Ms Thamm will support her it seems.

  • Gregory Scott says:

    You cannot make this up
    Clearly, she is hopelessly unfit to hold public office as she has, eish!

  • Johan Buys says:

    Cool, if a court tells me I’m guilty of driving 74km/h in a 60km/h zone I will tell the magistrate I feel rocks for his opinion.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Her incompetence and that of her “legal” advisor are so obvious, why waste any more money on this useless PP?

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Oh, I see Mkhwabane says it “exposed me to unwelcome criminal, civil and professional proceedings as a legal practitioner”. Since when are legal practitioners above the law? If she tresspasses, what makes her think that she is above the law, above the courts . . . who gives her the right to pretend that she is this omnipotent king/queen who thinks that she can do as she pleases? Is it not time that she really starts to answer to the law-enforcing agencies? By making as if the law does not apply to her, she has effectively sided with the criminals of society and I really hope she, and all those who has the same attitude, will be dealt with as such.

  • Isis Limor says:

    C O G N I T I V E D I S S O N A N C E.

    In it’s full glory.

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