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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is victimised by powerful forces in the country – Dali Mpofu

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane outside the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane outside the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 18, 2022

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s lawyer has argued that she was victimised by, “the most powerful forces in this country”, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, Parliament and Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Mkhwebane’s legal team, headed by advocate Dali Mpofu SC is addressing the Western Cape High Court in her case to interdict Parliament’s Section 194 committee from continuing with her impeachment proceedings and to prevent Ramaphosa from suspending her.

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It comes a week after the Section 194 committee agreed to go ahead with the impeachment of Mkhwebane, and hearings are scheduled to start in July.

Mpofu told Judges Nathan Erasmus, Mokgoatji Dolamo and Derek Wille, that Mkhwebane was a, “lonesome woman who was just trying to do her job”, but faced victimisation from the head of state, Parliament and head of the judiciary.

“Her perception is that the entire network is loaded against her,” Mpofu said.

Mkhwebane’s application was postponed in the high court last month after counsel for Parliament revealed an incident where self-described legal analyst Ismail Abramjee sent an SMS to Parliament’s counsel, advocate Andrew Breitenbach SC, saying that the public protector would lose the application.

The Constitutional Court delivered the judgment a week later and threw out the rescission application by Mkhwebane.

Mkhwebane has since filed another application for the court to rescind the judgment.

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Mpofu said the SMS was “the biggest scandal to ever hit our courts”.

He argued that the mere fact that the judgment was delayed by a week, “cannot by any stretch of the imagination be read to mean that what Abramjee was saying was not going to happen on the 29th if it had not been outed”.

He told the judges what should concern them was the possibility that someone in the Concourt leaked a judgment to influence them.

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“This was not out of fun or a joyride but to influence you – the three justices sitting here.

“It is a deliberate act of corruption and criminality.

“It is also to advantage one party and disadvantage the public protector,” Mpofu argued.

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Mpofu presented to court that in an interview with the SABC on April 28, Zondo gave three different answers to the journalist when he was asked whether the rescission decision was made.

Mpofu said Zondo first said the matter was pending and the Concourt would announce the decision when ready.

“He doesn’t say the decision isn’t made," Mpofu said.

The second time, Zondo said the Concourt would announce when a decision is made.

At this point, Judge Erasmus asked if Mpofu was, by implication, saying Zondo was lying.

“No. No, no, no, no,” Mpofu responded.

Mpofu said Zondo did not give a “clear and unambiguous answer”, and that Mkhwebane, owing to her confusion, instructed her attorneys to write a letter to the Concourt to seek clarity.

“Her letter was to seek clarity because this is as clear as mud,” Mpofu said.

He said Mkhwebane’s letter was “the responsible thing to do” and that it was a “nice letter, not a fighting letter”.

The matter is continuing and on Thursday has also been set aside for the Western Cape High Court judges for the case.

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Political Bureau

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