Mkhwebane’s throw of the dice: Public Protector tries to drag Ramaphosa into impeachment proceedings | News24

  • Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane claims the fees, which stem from her discredited CR17 report, towards her are probably the most critical in her impeachment.
  • Her attorneys wrote a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa to request him to avail himself to the Section 194 Committee.
  • If he doesn’t, Mkhwebane’s authorized staff will ask the committee to subpoena him to look.

In an try to tug President Cyril Ramaphosa into her impeachment listening to, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s attorneys argue the fees towards her, which emanates from her discredited CR17 report, are probably the most critical.

Mkhwebane’s attorneys, Seanego, despatched a letter to Ramaphosa to ask him to avail himself to testify earlier than the National Assembly’s Section 194 Committee that’s at the moment dealing with her impeachment.

READ | Mkhwebane impeachment: Public Protector mustn’t put own interests ahead of the public’s, committee hears

“Should you be willing to avail yourself voluntarily as per this request, please indicate so by communicating your decision to do so preferably on or before Friday, 22 July 2022. The necessary arrangements will then be made to consult with you,” learn the letter, dated 19 July.

“However and in the unlikely event that you are not willing to avail yourself voluntarily, then the necessary steps will swiftly be taken to bring you before the committee by the invocation of the process envisaged in Section 14 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act 3 of 2004, read with clauses 5.3 and 5.4 of the directives which were issued by the chairperson of the Section 194[1] Committee on 14 July 2022.”

This means Mkhwebane’s counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, will apply to committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi that Ramaphosa be subpoenaed to look earlier than the committee.

President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The impeachment fees towards Mkhwebane stem from the courts’ damning findings of her studies on CIEX, the so-called SARS rogue unit, the Vrede dairy farm and the CR17 matter referring to the funding for Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential marketing campaign in 2017.

READ | Mkhwebane impeachment: Taxpayers face paying R130 000 a day for legal team led by Mpofu

In the letter, Seanego mentioned the fees emanating from the CR17 case had been simply probably the most critical of the fees towards Mkhwebane.

The letter refers back to the High Court and Constitutional Court’s lengthy listing of findings towards her.

Before the National Assembly adopted the movement to question Mkhwebane, an unbiased panel appointed by the Speaker needed to assess whether or not there’s a prima facie case for her elimination on the grounds of misconduct or incompetence.

Retired Constitutional Court Justice Bess Nkabinde chaired the panel, which additionally contained senior advocates Dumisa Ntsebeza and Johan de Waal.

Mkhwebane’s attorneys’ letter to Ramaphosa referred to the panel’s “prima facie evidence of impeachable incompetence” in relation to the CR17 report, that are:

  • The Public Protector was patently flawed in that the Executive Ethics Code doesn’t make provision for inadvertently deceptive of Parliament.
  • She confused PRECCA and POCA by her “assumption” that cash laundering was handled within the former when it’s handled within the latter.
  • Her discovering Ramaphosa personally benefitted (was) with out foundation.
  • Her refusal to provide the president (a second) audit when she was requested by him to take action amounted to a failure to point out appreciation for elementary rules of due course of.
  • Her failure to understand that she can not direct the NDPP concerning “prosecutions to be instituted”.

“As a result of these observations, which all emanate from the utterances made by the president in the course of the litigation in the CR17/Bosasa matter, the independent panel recommended that the National Assembly should set up the present Section 194[1] Committee in terms of the rules of the establishment of the actual existence of the alleged grounds, which was done. That is where we are at the present moment,” learn Seanego’s letter.

The letter didn’t evaluate these to the findings on the opposite studies. It can be, at this stage, unknown whether or not Mpofu would name any of the litigants within the different issues to testify.

READ | Mpofu wants to call Ramaphosa to Mkhwebane’s impeachment hearings

The letter additionally acknowledged it “is a matter of public record” Ramaphosa beforehand made “various additional and serious accusations against the Public Protector, including but not limited to accusations of criminal conduct in the form of perjury”.

“If true, such conduct could constitute impeachable misconduct. For the record, the Public Protector disputes the veracity of all the above said accusations.

“She is entitled to take action despite the truth that you’ve got made the accusations and even despite the truth that the courts might or might not have confirmed them.

“The committee is therefore duty bound to enquire into their veracity. It is the main purpose and function of the committee to do so, fairly and reasonably, in terms of rule 129 AD.

“As the supply of all these accusations and/or findings, the relevance of your testimony is self-evident, therefore this letter of request.”

Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane confers along with her authorized counsel, Dali Mpofu, throughout her impeachment hearings.

Jan Gerber

In fact, it was not Ramaphosa who said Mkhwebane should be investigated for perjury.  

In August last year, Ramaphosa’s attorney, Peter Harris, filed court papers in which he said Mkhwebane had “opportunistically flip-flopped” on the text of the Executive Ethics Code to make false findings Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had misled Parliament.

Harris asked that the Constitutional Court should refer its CR17 ruling to National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi “for investigation of the conduct of the Public Protector”.

Harris’ affidavit was deposed after the impeachment motion had been adopted, and such a perjury charge is thus not before the Section 194 Committee.

READ | Stalingrad has fallen: Acting Public Protector to withdraw Mkhwebane’s court applications

Meanwhile, Mkhwebane is already facing perjury charges stemming from the court findings on her discredited CIEX report.

Last week, on the second day of the hearings, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, in a somewhat rambling input, said Ramaphosa should be called to explain whether public funds were used in his CR17 campaign.

However in her report, Mkhwebane herself never claimed public money had been used in his campaign.

She found Ramaphosa’s campaign was implicated in money laundering and potential state capture, even though she did not disclose the identities of his donors.

These findings have since been invalidated.

The Presidency rejected Holomisa’s suggestion and said his claims were “baseless, misdirected and vindictive”.

“It is an abuse of parliamentary processes and privilege. It has by no means been alleged that public funds had been utilized by the CR17 marketing campaign,” presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya mentioned in a press release.

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