SUSPENDED Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has threatened to take legal action against the parliamentary impeachment committee for allegedly holding an illegal meeting in her name.
Richard Dyantyi, the chairperson of Parliament’s Section 194 committee probing the Public Protector’s fitness for office, called the meeting in order to allow presentations from the evidence leaders, who are not committee members.
The meeting follows the suspension of the inquiry after Acting Public Protector Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka wrote a letter informing the committee that there were no longer funds to pay for Mkhwebane’s legal representation.
Mkhwebane said she found Gcaleka’s actions suspicious in that they happened in the middle of her testimony into the CR17 campaign finances and the SARS rogue unit.
Today, she publicly released an urgent letter written to Dyantyi in which she demanded that the committee meeting should be halted as it involves her impeachment.
“I write you this urgent letter to express my deepest concerns about the latest turn of events regarding the postponement of the enquiry proceedings only to be replaced by a ‘committee meeting’ which is actually an opportunity given to the evidence leaders to present closing arguments regarding the merits of charges.
“I support the said postponement as a sensible step given the failure to resolve the current crisis directly and solely caused by the letter from Adv Gcaleka and which threatens to collapse the Enquiry at a crucial stage when I am in the process of stating my side of the story,” wrote Mkhwebane.
Mkhwebane questioned the validity of the claims that the committee was only having a normal meeting outside the impeachment process. This came after committee members disagreed on how to proceed following the withdrawal of Mkhwebane’s legal team, led by Dali Mpofu SC, citing lack of funds to pay them. This led to the EFF and ATM members of the committee exchanging harsh words with Dyandyi, accusing him of taking illegal decisions and treating Mkhwebane unfairly.
“What was most puzzling was your unilateral and unsolicited decision to invite the evidence leaders to present an analysis of the evidence which was led by me thus far, to the committee during what has been labelled as a committee meeting but is in actual fact a backdoor enquiry thinly disguised as a ‘meeting,’ Mkhwebane added in her letter.
The suspended Public Protector said it was clear that there was an agenda to tarnish her name and protect President Cyril Ramaphosa’s interests.
“What is actually happening is that the evidence leaders are presenting their closing oral arguments. To do so when the evidence is still being led, right in the middle of the testimony of a key witness, who is still on the stand in the physical absence of me and/or my legal team is a travesty of justice.
“I am accordingly most perturbed by what is clearly a flagrant violation. There is nothing in any of the applicable legal instruments which allows the chairperson and/or the majority of committee members, to conduct themselves in such a patently and grossly irregular manner.
“The only obvious objectives of this exercise are to conduct a damage control exercise following the evidence I led in respect of the CR17 and ‘Rogue Unit’ scandals for the sake of cheap publicity,” she said.
Mkhwebane said she has been advised to demand the discontinuation of the meeting.
Dyantyi later told the media that he knew what he was doing and warned Mkhwebane to stop her threats.