Mkhwebane’s testimony postponed until Friday, avoiding taking witness stand

Mkhwebane's testimony postponed until Friday, avoiding taking witness stand
Mkhwebane's testimony postponed until Friday, avoiding taking witness stand

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Beleaguered Public Protector has succeeded in avoiding taking the witness stand on Wednesday, but the inquiry into her fitness for office has only been postponed until Friday.

Last Friday, the committee was under the impression the impasse around Mkhwebane’s legal representation had been resolved and scheduled her hearings to continue on Monday.

The Solicitor-General appointed Chaane Attorneys to represent Mkhwebane and to brief her counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, and his two juniors.

However, on Sunday evening, the committee received a letter from Chaane that Mpofu has not been briefed yet.

The inquiry was postponed until Wednesday.

However, on Wednesday morning, Mkhwebane again appeared before the committee without legal representation.

Her new attorney, Hope Chaane, had since fallen ill and was hospitalised, for an undetermined time, according to the letter his firm presented to the committee, and Mpofu and his team could not be briefed.

The state attorney will now be Mkhwebane’s attorney of record and brief Mpofu.

Meanwhile, Mkhwebane, the EFF, UDM and ATM want committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi to recuse himself over allegations that late ANC MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Dyantyi and ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina sought bribes from Mkhwebane’s husband, David Skosana, on her behalf.

Joemat-Pettersson died on Monday.

Skosana has laid a complaint at the police, and Mkhwebane has laid a complaint at Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests, which will investigate the allegations.

While the EFF, UDM and ATM – which have backed Mkhwebane throughout the proceedings – pushed to have the allegations aired in the committee, MPs from the ANC, DA, IFP, FF Plus, and ACDP wanted the committee to proceed with what it was established for: The inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness for office.

Some of these MPs also said there appeared to be attempts to delay the committee’s work.

Dyantyi ruled the committee would resume on Friday, when Mkhwebane will be expected to answer questions from evidence leaders on the topics of the CR17/Bosasa and SARS unit matters, to which she has already testified to.

The committee will not deal with the allegations, as it is not the appropriate forum.

The inquiry commenced in mid-July last year and was scheduled to conclude its work by September last year. It is now under pressure from Parliament to conclude its work.

Mkhwebane’s term of office ends on 14 October.

The National Assembly has already appointed an ad hoc committee to appoint her successor, which has elected ANC MP Cyril Xaba as its chairperson. This committee is expected to meet again on Thursday.

The Section 194 Committee intends to complete its work by 28 July, according to the programme it adopted on Friday.

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