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Clarity expected at enquiry this week on Mkhwebane’s legal funding issue

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Published Apr 11, 2023


Cape Town - Clarity is expected this week on the resolution of the funding challenges for suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s legal team.

This when Parliament’s committee looking into her fitness to hold office resumes its sitting.

At the close of proceedings last week, committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi repeated his assurance that there was “serious work being done” to sort out the problem.

Dyantyi was speaking in the face of a threat of legal action from Mkhwebane after the committee took a decision to receive a presentation from evidence leaders on the important aspects of her testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

On Monday last week, the committee decided it would hold an ordinary meeting instead of a hearing at which it would be briefed by the evidence leaders on the issues that made up Mkhwebane’s six days of testimony, before the funding issue forced her lawyers to abandon her.

These were the court judgments on the two completed matters, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 finances and the SA Revenue Service “rogue unit” investigating unit.

Suspended Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane leaves parliament at the conclusion of a previous hearing. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Mkhwebane was unhappy with the presentation by evidence leaders and said the committee meetings, at which she would not have legal representation, were unfair and threatened legal action.

However, Parliament’s legal adviser Fatima Ebrahim said the committee was not a quasi-judicial process and that the committee’s proceedings were neither a trial nor a criminal process “or anything akin to that”.

Responding to a question from the committee about whether the evidence leaders could lead evidence in the absence of Mkhwebane’s legal representatives, Ebrahim said Mkhwebane would not be prejudiced.

Ebrahim said Mkhwebane would have at least two opportunities to respond if any of the evidence presented were to be used by the committee.

She said all the evidence leaders were doing was to, “capacitate members and assist them in considering the motion”.

No actual date was announced last week for the resumption of this week’s sittings of the committee.

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Cape Argus