Makhubele insists she is not using delay tactics to avoid giving testimony at Zondo commission

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Aug 3, 2020

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Johannesburg - Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) interim board chairperson and Judge Nana Makhubele has moved to defend herself from accusations that she was delaying the work of the Zondo Commission by continually postponing her testimony into allegations levelled against her.

Judge Makhubele appeared before the commission on Monday morning where she and her lawyer Mxolisi Nxasana sought to have her oral evidence before the commission postponed until mid-September so she could secure her chosen senior counsel, who was currently busy, and to secure a transcript of the evidence of some of the Prasa officials who had implicated her.

“My former attorneys requested transcripts and they have not been given those transcripts,” Judge Makhubele said.

Judge Makhubele has been accused of abusing her position as the chairperson of the then interim board to push for controversial payments of contractors.

She has also failed to appear before the commission to answer to the allegations, and did not submit some of the affidavits she was directed to submit to the commission by Wednesday last week in preparation for her scheduled testimony this week.

Judge Makhubele cited the restrictions of the Covid-19 lockdown, problems with her previous lawyers and her schedule as a judge as among the obstacles to her giving evidence.

“For me to consult and appoint an attorney under level 5 lockdown was impossible and I did indicate to the commission because they wrote to me sometime in April. I said as soon as you get a designation as an essential service let me know because I may use that to travel to consult my attorneys,” she said.

Makhubele argued it was wrong to say she was refusing to give the commission her version regarding the allegations levelled against her, as she had issued her 47-page main affidavit before the commission responding to the allegations.

“I have had this complaint for long... all I am saying is that I have given a version. It may not be in a form that is full, but I have given a version,” she said.

She pointed out she would supplement her affidavit once she and her lawyers had secured the transcripts she had requested from the commission.

Judge Makhubele also complained about the commission’s legal team, accusing it of sending correspondence at short notice.

Justice Zondo, who had subpoenaed Judge Makhubele, in turn said he was not moved to grant the postponement application.

“I am inclined to dismiss the application but I have not made the decision to dismiss it. (I) will give you more time to address me,” he said before he announced the adjournment.

The inquiry continues with Judge Makhubele on the stand.

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