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Still no word on Mkhwebane’s legal fees, but committee to sit tomorrow

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Western Cape High Court during a previous court matter. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Western Cape High Court during a previous court matter. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 17, 2023

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Cape Town - Despite no news yet on suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s legal fees, Parliament’s committee looking into her fitness to hold office will meet tomorrow to hear presentations from evidence leaders.

Speaking during a committee meeting on Friday about the ongoing legal fees issue which has threatened to derail the inquiry, chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi (ANC) said: “We are working towards the resumption of the inquiry and factoring in time for closing arguments, members’ questions and evaluation of evidence.”

A revised committee programme would depend on what the news was tomorrow on the fees issue, he said.

During the session, evidence leader Nazreen Bawa spent six hours talking the committee through affidavits and responding affidavits from Mkhwebane, primarily on the Sars rogue investigative unit matter.

Committee evidence leader Senior Counsel Nazreen Bawa. File picture

Meanwhile, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court on Thursday dismissed Mkhwebane’s application to review the committee’s refusal to recuse Dyantyi, and committee member Kevin Mileham (DA).

Mkhwebane also wanted the court to review the committee’s decision not to summon, subpoena and or recall certain witnesses, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, to testify at the inquiry. The court dismissed Mkhwebane’s application with costs – including the costs of the counsel for Dyantyi, Mileham and the DA.

The judges said the separation of powers doctrine was not to be tampered with for flimsy reasons.

Only in rare cases where grave injustice might occur; or justice not being attained by other means, would a court entertain an application for review before the conclusion of such proceedings, they said. As such Mkhwebane’s review application was premature.

It would not be appropriate to permit a piecemeal review of proceedings. Any review brought after the conclusion of the process would be in terms of the principle of legality and not in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act as relied upon by the public protector, the judges said.

Committee Chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

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Cape Argus