Cape Town - Former public protector Thuli Madonsela is expected to testify today at the inquiry into her suspended successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness for office following a change of heart by the committee about hearing her evidence.
On Wednesday, a debate between Mkhwebane’s legal team and the committee over amendments to Madonsela’s written statement, after she sent the committee a new version of her original statement, caused an uproar in the Mkhwebane camp.
Mkhwebane’s senior counsel Dali Mpofu questioned whether the new statement superseded her original one and whether it was admissible.
During the dispute over Madonsela’s appearance, Mpofu said that Mkhwebane’s legal team did not intend to lead Madonsela’s evidence as she was not their witness.
But evidence leader Nazreen Bawa SC said Madonsela’s presence at the hearing was only at the request of Mkhwebane’s legal team to have her subpoenaed.
This was when the committee decided that if none of the parties were willing to take ownership of the witness, it would use Madonsela’s statement as provided to the committee without hearing oral evidence.
However, when as a result of the arguments committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi excused Madonsela from giving oral testimony, Mpofu said his team would either take the matter to the courts or make a fresh application for her to be subpoenaed.
An exchange of correspondence on Wednesday night between Dyantyi and Mpofu which was shared with the committee appears to have resolved the issues around Madonsela’s appearance.
In the correspondence Dyantyi said Madonsela’s amended statement contained no material changes and the content and substance, save for minor cosmetic changes such as correction of spelling and grammar, remained the same.
Dyantyi offered to call Madonsela back for today and tomorrow (Tuesday) and told Mpofu that the new date would give his team an opportunity to prepare and so lead the Madonsela evidence. Mpofu accepted the offer.