Breaking down how the bribery scandal unfolded, Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane said the late Tina Joemat-Pettersson physically attended the inquiry for the first and only time on March 16, where she asked for her husband’s contact numbers.
Mkhwebane was addressing the media during a briefing held in Sandton yesterday on allegations that Section 194 chairperson Richard Dyantyi and ANC parliamentary Chief Whip Penny Majodina solicited bribes to make the inquiry go her way.
“[Joemat-Petterson] asked one of the parliamentary officials who attends the inquiry regularly to give her phone to my husband and requested him to punch his number. Following this, Mrs Joemat-Petterson invited my husband to two separate physical meetings both held at Ocean Basket at the O.R Tambo International Airport.
“At this meeting, she solicited a bribe of approximately R600 000 for herself, Mr Richard Dyantyi, who is the chairperson of the inquiry, and Miss Penny Majodina, who is the Chief Whip of the ruling ANC,” she said.
Mkhwebane said her husband, David Skosana, pretended to play along in order to entrap those who solicited the bribes.
“My husband pretended to play along and even negotiated the price to be set at R150 000 instead of R200 000 each. He actually intended to trap the culprits and he proceeded to record the two meetings on his phone.
“He also insisted that Mrs Joemat should arrange a meeting where at least one of the two should attend. This was agreed upon, provided the conditions were met, but it all went south.
“Had the legislature, the Speaker, and members of the committee discharged their duties in line with their oath of office, it is most likely that Mrs Joetmat-Petterson would be very much alive today,” she said.
Mkhwebane said she was only sharing recordings with South Africans for them to judge because the inquiry was still ongoing, despite calls for Dyantyi to recuse himself.
“It is therefore in the public interest to release the evidence now, lest the investigations will be dragged on for years, like the Phala Phala investigations by various agencies.
“Read together with the WhatsApp messages, this should put it beyond doubt that there was solicitation of bribes in a corrupt manner in the eyes of any sane and objective observer. However, I expect the media to spin the undeniable truth away or find creative ways to cast doubt on the evidence,” she said.
Mkhwebane said it was scary to imagine the meaning of parliamentarians soliciting bribes from a Chapter 9 institution head.
“If members of parliament can be involved in seeking to corrupt a Public Protector, what hope can we still have in this democracy? If the whole president can abuse his powers to cover up for his own alleged criminal conduct, what is the purpose of our Constitution?
“Why is the country keeping quiet when an independent panel led by a former Chief Justice found prima facie criminality on the part of the president? Let us make sure that her death is not in vain but provides us with an opportunity to cleanse our society of the endemic corruption which has apparently gone to the highest level of every arm of the state,” she said. “It is never too late to fix our country. Now is the time. If we fail, there will be no country left to save for our generations.”
Mkhwebane wants her inquiry terminated and for the Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to be suspended for going public about her corruption complaint against Dyantyi and Majodina. She says the Speaker violated whistle-blower protection rules.