Parliament, Tuesday, 4 April 2023 – The Committee for Section 194 Enquiry into Public Protector (PP) Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office today continued with a normal committee meeting in order for evidence leaders to take the committee through court judgements dealt with over the six days during the PP’s testimony.

At the start of today’s meeting Adv Mkwebane wanted to address the meeting. Committee Chairperson, Mr Qubudile Dyantyi, reminded her however that it was a committee meeting where only the Members are allowed participate. She once again objected to the process being “unfair” even when informed several times that she is not allowed to participate. She kept interrupting the chairperson until she was muted on the virtual platform. The Chair had indicated to her that she may communicate with him directly and not during the meeting itself.

Adv Mkhwebane indicated she wrote a letter to the committee and when informed that the chairperson will have a look at it, she indicated that she will share it. She shared the correspondence on her Twitter account.

The hearings were halted yesterday after the committee was informed that Adv Mkhwebane’s challenges with her legal fees have not be resolved. At the start of March, The office of the Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) indicated that they will only be able to pay for Adv Mkhwebane’s legal fees until 31 March 2023, after having covered all of her costs in the Enquiry to date including the cost of the related litigation matters. This was due to financial constraints experienced by the PPSA.

In an update yesterday Mr Dyantyi, assured the committee that relevant role-players were working on finding a solution for Adv Mkhwebane’s predicament. Mr Dyantyi said despite it not forming part of the committee’s mandate.

Today evidence leaders Adv Nazreen Bawa, SC, and Adv Ncumisa Mayosi continued to take Members through the CR17/Bosasa court ruling. Adv Bawa showed how Pres Cyril Ramaphosa raised concerns about the source of the CR17 emails that Adv Mkhwebane relied on in her report. Adv Bawa said that the PP denied that she obtained the emails illegally. She said this is one of the issues they may choose to raise with Adv Mkhwebane. Adv Bawa said in argument, they will weigh up what was said to the court, and what was said in the committee.

Adv Mayosi dealt with the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Adv Mkhwebane’s CR17 report. She directed the Members to the Constitutional Court ruling, which found that Mkhwebane was not supposed to investigate the CR17 campaign, as it was not a public function. She further pointed out that the Constitutional Court stated that: “None of these complainants had asked the Public Protector to investigate the President’s failure to disclose benefits he derived from the CR17 campaign.”

The committee will continue tomorrow. The committee was established on 16 March 2021 to conduct a constitutional inquiry into the PP’s fitness to hold office and is now expected to conclude its work towards the end of May 2023. Committee documents can be found at Committee for Section 194 Enquiry - Parliament of South Africa


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