Former executive manager in PP’s office testifies that Mkhwebane did not want adverse findings in Vrede Farm Report

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Former executive manager for Provincial Investigations and Integration at the Public Protector’s office says Busiswe Mkhwebane told him she did not want adverse findings in the Vrede Dairy Farm Report.

Reginald Ndou has told the Parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office that Mkhwebane had sought to cancel his leave because she was in a hurry for the report to be released. The hearing was adjourned early due to technical problems.

Ndou spent close to 20 years at the Public Protector’s office and his highest position was to oversee the investigations in provinces. It was in that capacity that he came to oversee the finalisation of the Vrede Dairy Farm report.

He says when the report was brought to head office by the provincial investigations team that included lead investigator from the Free State Advocate Erika Cilliers, Mkhwebane expressed unhappiness with Cilliers.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in the Free State Roy Jankielsohn is the one who laid the original complaint about the Vrede Dairy Farm because of government’s investment of R342-million in the project.

Ndou told the hearing that Mkhwebane was quite in a hurry for the report into the project to be finalised. He says he had taken two days leave to prepare for a job interview when he received a text message from the Public Protector.

He says he was unable to comply with the request. When he returned to the office, he was issued with a letter to explain his failure to obey the instruction. After providing the explanation, he never heard anything about this matter again.

In his cross examination, Mkhwebane’s legal representative Advocate Dali Mpofu put it to Ndou that it was reasonable of Mkhwebane to demand Ndou’s presence as he was central to the drafting of the report.

Ndou’s cross examination could not be completed due to technical problems and he is expected to appear again next week.

The hearings will resume on Monday when former Chief Operations Officer Basani Baloyi will give testimony.

VIDEO: Mkhwebane inquiry hears about Vrede Dairy Farm investigation: Bulelani Philip updates