In what Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has labelled the biggest scandal to hit South African democracy, the suspended Chapter 9 institution leader blamed the death of former Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson on “state capture.”
Mkhwebane was speaking during her much-anticipated media briefing on allegations that Section 194 chairperson Richard Dyantyi and ANC parliamentary Chief Whip Penny Majodina solicited bribes to make the inquiry go her way.
She said the solicitations of the bribes were communicated to her husband, David Skosana, through the late Joemat-Pettersson in March this year.
Mkhwebane presented audio recordings that demonstrated that there were meetings held between Joemat-Pettersson and Skosana at a restaurant at the O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
“For the first [time] in South Africa we can talk about state capture because all three arms of the State aided and abetted by the media are deeply implicated in concerted efforts to violate my rights and those of the public I’m appointed to serve.
“I will show that to different degrees the late Joemat-Pettersson would still be alive if the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary as well as the ANC-DA alliance had complied with their constitutional obligations. In a way, all of these institutions killed Mrs Joemat-Pettersson,” she said.
Mkhwebane said this meant that the executive, the National Assembly, and the judiciary were all responsible for Joemat-Pettersson’s death, adding that President Cyril Ramaphosa implicated the executive in Joemat-Pettersson’s death when he maliciously suspended her for investigating the Phala Phala burglary.
“Without the unlawful suspension and disingenuous appeal, I would have returned to my office on the 10th of September 2022, and Miss Joemat-Pettersson would probably still be alive,” said Mkhwebane.
The Public Protector said the Western Cape High Court had pronounced that Ramaphosa had suspended her in June last year to hit back at her for probing Phala Phala.
“It is not worthy that the court found that the real reason for my suspension was to avenge the 31 questions I asked in respect of the alleged criminality involved in the Phala Phala scandal.
Mkhwebane also laid into acting Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka for failing to release the Phala Phala report on time allegedly to protect Ramaphosa.
“More than a year after the complaint into Phala Phala the office of the Public Protector has not yet released a report. The objectives for removing me illegally have therefore been achieved,” she said.
Mkhwebane said the Constitutional Court urgently heard an application by Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance to stop her from returning to work but sat on the judgement for more than six months.
“It was heard urgently on the 24th of November 2022. To date, the Constitutional Court has failed to issue a judgement. The six months period, during which even non-urgent judgements have to be handed down, expired on the 24th of May, 2023.
“It is fair to say that if the Chief Justice and the Constitutional Court judges had complied with their constitutional obligations, Mrs Tina Joemat-Pettersson might still be alive because we wouldn’t find ourselves in this situation,” said Mkhwebane.
“Even if the judgement can be issued now, it is too late for her. It will also be irrelevant to me. So, the justices might as well send the judgement to the universities because the relevance and usefulness are now only academic.”
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.