The chairperson of the inquiry into the fitness of the public protector to hold office, Qubudile Dyantyi, has refused to recuse himself from presiding over the hearing.
Dyantyi said there were no grounds for him to recuse himself from the proceedings.
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had lodged an application for Dyantyi to recuse himself.
This came after allegations emerged that Dyantyi, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina and the late party MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson had solicited a bribe of thousands of rands from Mkhwebane, through her husband David Skosana, to make the inquiry go away.
But both Dyantyi and Majodina have denied the allegations.
In his response to Mkhwebane’s application to recuse himself, Dyantyi said there was no evidence linking him to the bribe. He said he found the allegations hurtful, offensive and undermining his ethics and integrity.
He said he will continue to chair the proceedings.
“After careful consideration of the second recusal application, I have taken the decision not to recuse myself as the chairperson or as a member of the committee. I do so on the basis that I categorically and vehemently deny that I have ever, in connection with the section 194 process or the Inquiry bribed, sought to bribe or otherwise solicit a bribe through Ms Joemat-Pettersson or any third party from the PP (public protector) or any other person,” said Dyantyi.
He said there was no evidence to back up the claims by Mkhwebane.
He accused Mkhwebane of abusing the process by seeking his recusal from the committee.
Dyantyi said the ethics committee was investigating the allegations.
He confirmed that Joemat-Pettersson was physically present at their meeting on March 16, when Mkhwebane was giving oral evidence.
She sent Dyantyi WhatsApp messages wanting to see him urgently. This was during lunchtime.
“While I do not have personal knowledge of discussions between Joemat-Pettersson and Mr Skosana at that meeting, I noted that she sat on the same side of the committee venue as him and they communicated during the sitting. The interaction I observed was disruptive and at some point, I reprimanded Ms Joemat-Pettersson (as I would do to any member who disrespects the process),” said Dyantyi.
He said he did not speak to Joemat-Pettersson after that.
He added that he did not have personal knowledge of meetings between Joemat-Pettersson and Skosana.
On the audio recordings between Joemat-Pettersson and Skosana, he said they were unclear.
“I deny that Joemat-Pettersson was soliciting a bribe or attempting to extort money on my behalf or at my instruction or that she unequivocally stated that I had requested to be given an amount of R200,000,” said Dyantyi.
He denied that he expected to be appointed as a minister, as alleged, and that he has served in any role given to him by the ANC.
He said he has served the party for over three decades.
“Further, it is preposterous to suggest that even if I were to have been aggrieved at not becoming a minister (which I deny) that I would risk my career, my ethics, integrity, and my freedom by committing or planning to commit a criminal offence, thus risking incarceration and losing my membership of the ANC, which I have served for more than three decades, for money,” said Dyantyi.
He also denied he was involved in the death of Joemat-Pettersson, saying Mkhwebane has blamed everyone for Joemat-Pettersson’s death, including parliament, cabinet and the judiciary.
Dyantyi said this was in poor taste and not sensitive to the family of the late ANC MP.
In addition, he never met to discuss any bribery with Joemat-Pettersson, except the Whataspp messages on the committee and other ANC related work.