Parliament, Monday, 24 July 2023 – The Chairperson of the Committee for Section 194 Enquiry into Public Protector (PP) Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office, Mr Qubudile Dyantyi has, after carefully considering the second recusal application by the PP, decided not to recuse himself as the Chairperson or as a member of the committee.

Mr Dyantyi submitted a detailed written response to the application of the PP. Whilst he had originally undertaken to provide his response by last week Friday, the PP failed to provide all the recordings that she relied on in her application. To this end, he noted that whilst the PP provided a transcript of 12 recordings, only four audio recordings were provided to him. The duration of these four recordings lasted for just over nine minutes whereas the PP alleges the meetings between Mr David Skosana, her husband, and the late Ms Tina Joemat-Petetrsson lasted approximately one hour.

Despite several requests to be provided with the recordings referred to in the transcript and clarity on whether there are other recordings, Chaane Attorneys, acting on behalf of the PP indicated that the four recordings are the only ones provided by their client. Mr Dyantyi sought further confirmation from the PP after which Chaane Attorneys responded today by saying: “We confirm that, what we have provided is sufficient for purposes of the recusal application.”

Mr Dyantyi indicated that he considered this suspicious as clearly the full context of the alleged discussions is not known. Thus, whilst he had made a full disclosure (including providing screenshots of WhatsApp communication between him and the late Ms Joemat-Pettersson), the PP failed to do so.

In his response, Mr Dyantyi categorically and vehemently denied that he has ever, in connection with the Section 194 process or the Enquiry bribed, sought to bribe or otherwise solicit a bribe through the late Ms Joemat-Pettersson or any third party from the PP or any other person or that he had any motive to do so

He further denies that he sought to extort anything from any person or subjected any person to pressure or threats to induce that person to do or refrain from doing, in return for a patrimonial or non-patrimonial advantage, or for any other reason whatsoever. He also did not receive any personal or financial benefit or sought to receive such benefit or that he has any personal or financial interest in the outcome of the Enquiry.

Mr Dyantyi went on to say that he never acted in any manner that was unfair to the PP. In addition, he is of the view that the evidence tendered does not support that there is any prima facie proof of the allegations in respect of himself, but rather raises further questions which he dealt with in detail.

He said he maintained an open mind throughout the Enquiry and reached no predetermined conclusions in the assessment of the charges in the Motion. “On the contrary I have actively engaged with the evidence and will continue to apply my mind in a fair, unbiased and rational manner when concluding on findings and making recommendations to the National Assembly (NA).

“All in all, I have no doubt that I have been fair, reasonable, firm and balanced in seeking to ensure that the committee discharges its fundamental constitutional function. There is therefore no substantive merit in the recusal application.”

He indicated being acutely aware of his duty to ensure that the process is reasonable and procedurally fair. Mr Dyantyi said he always acted in good faith to ensure that the requirement of fairness is balanced against the committee’s constitutional duty to perform its work diligently, without delay and within a reasonable timeframe. In instances where he took decisions, he assured the public that he applied his mind and acted rationally. He further always sought to promptly provide reasons for same (most often in writing).

Adv Mkhwebane’s application raised seven grounds for recusal including that the committee is continuing its work despite her lack of legal representation. Mr Dyantyi said the allegation has been fully ventilated in the correspondence, has served on several occasions before the committee and written reasons have been provided in full for the decision to proceed where necessary. Such decisions must rightly and appropriately be challenged in a review application.

Mr Dyantyi said he disagreed that the Enquiry can or must focus in any way on the passing of the late Ms Joemat-Pettersson as opposed to the Motion which deals with the sole question of whether the PP is incompetent or has misconducted herself as alleged. “The committee is not seized with an enquiry into Ms Joemat-Pettersson’s passing nor is it appropriate for members of Parliament to speculate in respect thereof especially whilst the matter is receiving attention from appropriate state authorities. In addition, it is deeply disrespectful to her family. To this extent the PP has misdirected herself in understanding the powers and functions of the committee.”

Mr Dyantyi further noted that in the alleged WhatsApp communication, Mr Skosana threatens to call an “urgent press conference” to “expose this Chairperson” (with Ms Joemat-Pettersson seeming confused and asking “on what”) which is exactly what transpired but inexplicably only much later. “One wonders why the PP, who occupies a position in which she is meant to investigate, establish facts, and reach conclusions, did not advise Mr Skosana to involve the SAPS to obtain irrefutable evidence.”

Mr Dyantyi also questioned, amongst others, the delay in Mr Skosana bringing the matter to the attention of the SAPS and the PP and in turn her delay in the lodging of the application and the piecemeal approach in which alleged evidence is being released.

Furthermore, Mr Dyantyi stated that he will not permit oral representation in the form that the PP requests, which is with the intention of leading evidence by her husband and her sister on the allegations and to play recordings some of which have already been provided to the committee and are in the public domain. According to him neither the NA Rules nor the Directives empower the committee to investigate and reach conclusions on the allegations in a matter akin to an enquiry within the Enquiry. The mandate of the committee is narrow and is restricted to considering the charges in the Motion and making a recommendation in respect thereof to the NA.

In conclusion Mr Dyantyi said: “I will not deny that I have found the allegations against me to be hurtful and deeply offensive given my dedication and commitment to conducting a fair process. In addition, I have always considered myself as a person of integrity who lives his life based on the principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and strong civic responsibility.

“I will not allow myself to be distracted from the important work that I and my fellow members of the committee have undertaken to do. I have performed to the best of my ability, and I go forward confident that recusal will not serve the best interest of the committee, Parliament or the public interest at this critical juncture.”

Mr Dyantyi indicated that he expects members to be hard at work this week studying the summation of evidence as received from the evidence leaders. The committee is expected to meet on Friday to consider its draft report. The committee was established on 16 March 2021 to conduct a constitutional enquiry into the PP’s fitness to hold office. Committee documents can be found at Committee for Section 194 Enquiry - Parliament of South Africa


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