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Mkhwebane’s R10m payday only months away while impeachment inquiry silently continues

Mkhwebane’s R10m payday only months away while impeachment inquiry silently continues
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during the Section 194 Inquiry at Parliament on 27 May 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

While the work of the Section 194 inquiry hums along, suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is only months away from receiving a ‘gratuity’ worth about R10m.

Away from headlines, press conferences and funerals, members of Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s Section 194 impeachment inquiry should have handed over their written questions by now.

Wednesday, 21 June was the deadline for the submission of written questions to Mkhwebane by committee members, with 23 June being the cut-off date for evidence leaders.

On 16 June, Qubudile Dyantyi, the chair of the committee, issued a statement confirming amendments to how the committee would be proceeding. The show was on the road, with the engine purring rather than roaring, so to speak.

From here, according to Dyantyi’s timeline, Mkhwebane may “elect” to answer some of these questions orally or in writing under oath.

Should Mkhwebane fail to answer questions orally “by the date determined by the Chairperson of the committee, it will be assumed that the PP has elected to answer questions in writing” by a date to be determined by Dyantyi.

Tight corner

Should the suspended Public Protector fail to respond in writing, she will still be expected to provide a “written or oral closing argument”. Should she fail “to provide comments on the draft report, it will be presumed that she has elected not to avail herself to do so”.

Should all of this take place, the committee would not be “precluded from proceeding to deliberations and making findings based on the evidence before it”, said Dyantyi.

An amount of R4-million for legal fees was still available to Mkhwebane, who had rejected the recommended state attorney after her attorney of choice was stricken by an illness so sudden and severe he had to be hospitalised indefinitely.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Mkhwebane reaches end of the road, refuses State Attorney’s offer and is poised to reveal alleged bribery files

Since then, there was Mkhwebane’s “press conference”, releasing WhatsApps and alleged voice recordings of ANC MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson whose death will now be the subject of an inquest. Joemat-Pettersson is accused by Mkhwebane and her husband, David Skosana, of attempting to solicit a bribe for herself, Dyantyi and ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina.

Dyantyi and Majodina have denied the allegations.

Time is on her side

At the end of her term, Mkhwebane will receive a “gratuity” of about R10-million which comes as part of the job package.

This should happen in October, unless she is “removed from office” between then and now, but that in itself might not affect the payout.

Public Protector legal adviser Ndili Msoki told Daily Maverick that conditions of service were determined by the Public Protector Act, passed in 1994, with the appointment of advocate Selby Baqwa in September 1995, and amended twice, in 1996 and 2002.

Mkhwebane’s salary of R2,316,919 took effect on 1 April 2020, as published in the Government Gazette’s proclamation notice 29 of 2021.

Here’s one for the maths enthusiasts.

Conditions of employment make provision for a “gratuity” calculated “with the formula — D/7 x 2 x (E+3) x F, in which formula the factor: ‘D’ represents the salary (basic per annum) which at the time of his or her vacation of office was applicable to the office of the Public Protector; ‘E’ represents the period in years of his or her period in such office; ‘F’ represents the provision for the calculation of income tax calculated at a marginal rate of 40%”.

Former Public Protector advocate Lawrence Mushwana, on departure in 2009, received R6.8-million.

Pay back the money

In 2017, when advocate Thuli Madonsela’s term of office ended, she received a R7.6-million “gratuity” of which she later repaid about R450,000 for damages to a state vehicle caused by her son in 2012.

At the time, she had written to her successor, Mkhwebane, that those “who believe in a better world must be the first to do what we believe is right”.

Which brings us to the R4-million the Office of the Public Protector has admitted to paying the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure for Mkhwebane’s irregular rental of first a home, then an apartment, in the Bryntirion Presidential Estate in Pretoria. She lived there throughout her tenure.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Free Rider — Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s rent-free stay in presidential estate cost taxpayers R3.7-million

This is a perk to which Mkhwebane was not entitled and it was paid for with public funds.

That is over and above the fact that she headed an independent Chapter 9 institution aimed at holding the executive to account, all while living as a neighbour to that executive.

Msoki did not respond to a query as to whether the R4-million could be recovered through a deduction from Mkhwebane’s expected gratuity, as was done with Madonsela’s payout. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    “… her attorney of choice was stricken by an illness so sudden and severe he had to be hospitalised indefinitely.”

    Maybe an attack of that awful acute sickness called ‘the truth’?

    • Stef Viljoen Viljoen says:

      Hehehehehe! Maybe some of our journalists should go and visit him in hospital. I mean, a lawyer will surely be admitted to a high end hospital rather than one of the government “hospitals”, so he should’nt be too difficult to find?

    • Matsobane Monama says:

      Steve i don’t hv a thing for Busi and his Attorney, but diseases don’t knock on the door n say i am coming in. You just collapse from a heart attack or any other illness and you are out of this world or in hospital. It’s your mindset that is a problem here. Reality.

      • Steve Davidson says:

        Really? After all the disgraceful nonsense this woman and her legal team have puked up over the last year plus, I would want a medical certificate to prove this guy is sick, and not one from that crook Fraser, either.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Hopefully, that totally undeserved ten million this disgraceful example of a so-called ‘public protector’ will presumably get, will be spent on lawyers’ fees and fines for at least the next five years as she is hounded by civil society for her disgusting actions. And let’s have a public discussion about her successor – maybe headed by the amazing Thuli! – to ensure we don’t have a repeat of this woman’s attempt to destroy what should be an office that protects the public, not a group of crooks like Mkhwebane has done. Perhaps a trial (not in court!) period of a year or so of the next one could be arranged?

  • andrew farrer says:

    The entire judicial (and parlimentary inquiry) system needs an overhaul to speed up the process and prevent stalingrad tactics. Judges/ commissioners should, at the start of a trial, set a time table, allocating time to defense and prosecution within which they must present their case, and if they can’t finish oral submissions, then submit in writing (hopefully this will stop all the off topic waffling). They have to stop allowing all these delays “because I’m not feeling well”etc. JSC??

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    How absolutely disgusting that a highly incompetent, treacherous, arrogant, crooked and compromised individual with a totally nefarious agenda to champion the REThieves at all cost, can simply walk away with R10m despite all the destruction, misery and many slap-downs that she has received, is astounding in the extreme!! Where is the accountability?? This is another case of total impunity and where everything and anything goes in this country. Adding insult to injury, the taxpayer has also mainly footed her unnecessary legal fees and that other unscrupulous and unethical lawyer of hers, Mpofu, has profited very handsomely in the process. There is something very wrong and sick in our country and legal system!!!

    • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

      The state officials have far too many gratuities + a substantial salary. Considering the doubtful morality of quite a few officials, who might end up in a courtroom, the cost to the state of all those lawyers will probably send the country directly into bankruptcy. Is this something South African or does it also exist in other countries? I don’t think that the quantity of criminal behaviour among officials was considered when this rule was established.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    This woman is a crook and a liar and should be in jail. She committed perjury and is possibly being rewarded with R 10.0 Mio; what a sick country we aree living in.

  • Blingtofling HD says:

    I feel a sense of dispair. All these legal knots and wiggling in our courts by corrupt political criminals must surely indicate some sort of hint that our laws we so diligently and to the letter practice, favour political government officials as if it was carefully orchestrated to protect them from prosecutions. Who is the judge AND court, and which one of our laws can ever make the decision SO FAR AND NO FURTHER! The tax payers end up fitting the bill for this lack of decisiveness built into our judiciary jargon and legal minefield full of loopholes to ever pay back money or be held accountable for their incompetance and criminal activities. Tax payers should stop funding these excesses and fun and games going on in our courts! When will taxpayers say ENOUGH!

  • Armin Schrocker says:

    I hope this dreadful woman is done and dusted with soonest, costing the country a fortune for nothing. This is a very ridiculous case indeed.

  • sakkielearmonth says:

    At a time when so many honest South Africans are living in poverty, it would be a travesty to give this devious and disgraceful woman anything, let alone 10,000,000 million rand!!

  • Agf Agf says:

    How much time did this disgraceful woman spend “protecting” the public? A reminder that the DA was the only party which voted against her appointment.

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    My gardener, who is at least as intelligent and 5 times as honest, works his butt off for 5 different people, to earn R8000 a month! This “person” who hasn’t a shred of integrity is being paid R10 million – and they dare talk about monopoly capital.

  • William Stucke says:

    Why does the PP Act provide for a gratuity at all? Other Chapter Nine institutions don’t. I spent 5 years as an ICASA Councillor, as a public servant, working my butt off for the public. I got a salary, an office and a cellphone allowance. That’s it. No medical scheme, no pension, no fancy car, and certainly no “gratuity” at the end of it.

  • Trevor Pope says:

    Hopefully they will deduct all the personal costs orders before paying out. And hold back the rest for the remaining costs orders still to come.

  • Terri Coyle says:

    This is a clear example of rewarding bad behaviour. Imagine raising our children on the same premise! We would create a nation of ingrates, grifters, liars, narcissists and monsters of all varieties. The ANC is setting the bad example by showing that being dishonest and nefarious reaps rewards.

  • David Farrell says:

    This is just another form of state capture, force the tax payer to fund your legal cost for an impeachment caused by your own actions, have the money paid to a lawyer who is well know for ripping of the state and his protection of nefarious politicians and use the the same tactics to protect your end of service gratuity, just like Zondo said parliament is not capable of preventing state capture on any level.

  • Johan Buys says:

    If one added up the cost orders against her excellence, plus interest (sorry no not tax deductible as it was not expended in the production of income), and deducted this from the gratuity and pension : how many peanuts remain for his excellency Advocate Dali Mpofu SC (0 for 196) to gorge on; defending her excellency against future claims and representing her in the inevitable appeals against the cost orders?

  • Paul Savage says:

    Surely it would be cheaper to fold the investigation, keep her suspended, and pay her the R10m at the end of her “tenure”? This current circus is a shambles, as one would expect with the ANC running the show. It is so galling to think that Mpofu is being paid such a fortune from the tax purse. What a complete waste of money.

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