South Africa

SECTION 194 INQUIRY

Mkhwebane reaches end of the road, refuses State Attorney’s offer and is poised to reveal alleged bribery files

Mkhwebane reaches end of the road, refuses State Attorney’s offer and is poised to reveal alleged bribery files
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Moeletsi Mabe)

With her attorney of choice, Hope Chaane, in hospital indefinitely, Busisiwe Mkhwebane has rejected representation by the State Attorney.

Just as Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s Section 194 impeachment inquiry was poised this week to start questioning the suspended public protector (PP) on damning evidence presented over almost two years, a series of further obstacles were strewn across the tracks.

At the resumption of proceedings on Wednesday, Mkhwebane sought to have the inquiry committee chair, Qubudile Dyantyi, recuse himself, again.

This follows claims by Mkhwebane’s husband, Mandla Skosana, of an attempted bribe the late Tina Joemat-Pettersson had allegedly negotiated on behalf of three ANC members, including Dyantyi.

On Wednesday, Dyantyi said the committee would only entertain a motion for his recusal if Mkhwebane delivered it in writing by 1pm on Friday. 

As the deadline came and went, Mkhwebane, an advocate herself, said she had been unable to prepare the motion as “I don’t have legal representation”.

Legal limbo 

On Friday, another representative from the State Attorney’s office in Pretoria, Isaac Chowe, told the committee that Mkhwebane had informed him she disputed his legal status to represent her. 

Chowe had been appointed by the Office of the Public Protector (PPSA), who has ringfenced R4-million to pay the suspended PP’s legal bills.

Mkhwebane claimed on Friday that there was a “conflict of interest” as the State Attorney had also instructed the Section 194 Inquiry evidence leaders and that the courts had stated she was allowed to appoint attorneys of her choice.

This was Seanego Attorneys, who had instructed advocate Dali Mpofu, and who had packed up when the money ran out. 

Chowe informed committee members that Mkhwebane had told him she had been “shocked” when the PPSA had terminated the brief of Hope Chaana, who is apparently gravely ill. 

Chaane was so ill that EFF MP Omphile Moatshe suggested on Wednesday that the attorney was actually “at death’s door” at an undisclosed hospital.

“My status as the attorney of record is actually in dispute,” Chowe said.

It took time, but Chowe eventually admitted to the committee that Mkhwebane was rejecting representation.

The impasse reached, the committee took a tea break.

One step forward, two steps back

After tea, Dyantyi set down the way forward. There was no legal impediment to the committee continuing its work as there was no interdict, he said.

One of Mkhwebane’s earlier demands had been that the inquiry be postponed until Chaabe’s recovery.

Legal adviser Fatima Ibrahim told committee members that the firm of attorneys played a limited role, and it was “counsel who does the heavy lifting”.

Dyantyi said there was no intention to extend the 22 days left and that there was also “no intention to deplete the R4-million”. The committee had been “firm and clear” about respecting the need for ensuring legal representation for the suspended PP, he said.

“We have done everything to make sure that happens, up to today, as I speak, the PP has not been denied legal representation”.

The committee found itself in a position where “when we take one step forward, then there is a setback of sorts. It has been the DNA of this inquiry since February and March”.

Mkhwebane as well as the committee and the public had the right to have the matter “brought to finality”, he said.

The road to the impeachment vote

Dyantyi described how the committee would go to work. All evidence leaders and committee members were to put in writing all questions in relation to the charges faced by Mkhwebane, he said.

These would be collated and provided to Mkhwebane to respond. As committee chair he would also be issuing an amended directive to this effect.

“Should she wish to respond orally, she will be able to attend hearings not later than a day after being provided with the questions.

“If she wants to respond in writing, I will give her time,” he said.

The suspended PP was also invited to submit anything further in writing. Should she fail to respond the committee would “have no choice but to make its findings on what is before it, including the PP’s statements”.

Mkhwebane, added Dyantyi, would be given an opportunity to make her closing statement orally or in writing, and that more than one date would be provided to accommodate “availability issues”.

All of this would happen “transparently and in public”.

Once a draft report was completed it would be given to members as well as Mkhwebane for comment.

“It will be her final audi [right to reply] before a decision on the adoption of the report will be made,” said Dyantyi.

There was “no other option” but for the committee to continue its work in this fashion.

The proposal was accepted by committee members with no apparent objections.

The bribery files

Once the committee had adjourned, Mkhwebane announced on social media that she would be holding a press conference on Tuesday, 13 June, with a venue to be confirmed. 

At the meeting she claims she will be presenting “evidence of extortion, bribery and corruption” that has been pinned on ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina, Dyantyi and Joemat-Pettersson.

Apparent WhatsApp messages between Skosana and Joemat-Pettersson have been widely circulated on social media. Mkhwebane claims she has further “audio” that will back up her husband’s claims. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Margaret Jensen says:

    Will this ever be finalised? It has always been a process of delays until the suspended PP’s time has run out so that she will not lose her benefits

  • Barry Messenger says:

    Yet another circus.

  • Ukraak17 says:

    Like everything ANC, it all depends on the money.

    The more there is, the better the show.

    When will we say enough us enough? If you want to protect yourself from the “kak-wat-jy-aangejaag het”, then feel free to hire your own lawyers from your own pension savings, like the rest of us mortals.

    And it applies to everyone!

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    This protracted nonsense could only happen in SA where our justice system is a shambles and Parliament barely understands or executes its mandate. This PP will eventually be impeached and then simply disappear to live off a huge pension not forgetting she only served a couple of years in this position
    How does this work?

    • Matsobane Monama says:

      How does this work? You shouldn’t hv made a comment 1st and ask a question after. Pls Tim go and educate yourself about how the basics of our legal system work.

  • Peter Vos says:

    The South African wheels of justice no longer turn nor grind: they have been stolen

  • cathy.wardle says:

    When oh when will this incompetent PP leave ……

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    I wonder what the total cost of this enquiry to the taxpayer is? Nowhere near as much as Zondo or Life Esidemeni or Marikana – but nonetheless substantial in a Country where a large percentage of our children go to bed hungry every night
    The cost to the taxpayer – the cost to the indigent – of Cadre Deployment, State Capture & even the ANC’s kinship with Russia is unquantifiable but astronomical!
    I would guess that if we were able to quantify the total cost of corruption, mismanagement etc & divided this by the total population of South Africa it would calculate at tens of thousands of Rands stolen per individual & dwarfs what our most vulnerable receive as a Basic Income Grant!
    It is not improbable that the ANC through mismanagent & corruption (& it’s attendant costs) have ‘stolen’ four times the Rand value from the poor it then pays back to them in Grant’s (& for which apparently they should be grateful)

  • Rae Earl says:

    If the bribery accusation has merit that’s a different story which has nothing to do with this woman’s impeachment trial. If she wants to take it further she should lay charges, furnish proof, and open a case. If the committee allows itself to be outsmarted by Mkhwebane once again, then shame on parliament and Ramaphosa for allowing it to happen. We pay our taxes as citizens and watch in mute amazement as the ANC government fritters the money away because it doesn’t have the intelligence or will to nail down straight forward legal processes. It allows lawyers like Dali Mpofu to raise vague and nonsensical technical points and then turn them into cases within cases while milking the public purse to death. How is it possible that a lawyer with the limited abilties of Mpofu is able to manipulate his legal peers with such ease?

  • Richard Bryant says:

    What is of concern to me is how vulnerable these vital institutions are to a capture. The PP office went from the stalwart against corruption in the Zuma era to the opposite end of supporting it. In literally a few months and the replacement of one person. Not only in SA but wherever there are similar vital institutions in place to support democracy, law and human rights.

    It shows how crucial the process is in selecting the head of institutions including head of state. And also how hard it is in turning things around when a rogue gets into place.

    And when a process is set in motion to remove these rogues, the most important thing is to get them into a witness box under oath as fast as possible. To stop this type of abuse of process by throwing as much muck as possible hoping something will stick. Zuma went to jail for refusing to appear before Zondo and has taken many years to get him anywhere near a witness box in the arms trial. Same here. Mkhwebane knows she will be torn to shreds the moment she is put on the spot so is doing everything possible to avoid it. Dyanti’s doing a fine job in standing up to her, but my sense is she will be quite relieved at this idea that she can answer questions in writing. Because then cross questioning will not be possible where her lies would become horribly exposed.

    The last time Zuma was in the box, he famously explained to us the HIV could be avoided by taking a shower!

  • Steve Davidson says:

    I just hope somebody somewhere is creating a series of court cases against this despicable woman so that once she at last departs the PP office, which she has so disgracefully contaminated with her disgusting behaviour, she’ll be faced with numerous calls on her pension fund to pay for expensive lawyers like Mpoohfoo (and she must be forced to use him if that’s at all possible) and has to spend huge amounts of time in court trying to explain why she was a total and utter traitor to this country.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Sounds to me like just more Stalingrad tactics. I believe that rules must be made to outlaw this kind of tactics.

  • Andrew Blaine says:

    Stalingrad v 7.66

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