Former senior investigator at Free State Public Protector’s office testifies before Parly’s Section 194 Committee

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The reinstated Head of the Public Protector’s Free State Office, Sphelo Hamilton Samuel, has started to testify before Parliament’s Section 194 Committee which is investigating suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

Samuel says he has a 20-year service in which he has worked under all public protectors.

He started working in the Free State, then he was transferred to Limpopo and back to the Free State.

Evidence leader advocate Nazreen Bawa took Samuel through the Vrede Dairy investigation.

Samuel confirmed that the investigation started during the time of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and was incomplete by the time her contract expired.

Bawa: “When did you first have any involvement in the Vrede investigation? You were transferred to the Free State Office in 2015.”

Samuel: “In the investigation, I became involved when I was transferred to the Free State provincial office in 2019. But prior to that, I had sat in what we called the think tank, where this report was presented during Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s time. And so I knew about this investigation then.”

Bawa: “So a report had been presented to the think tank during Advocate Madonsela’s term?”

Samuel: “That is correct.”

Bawa: “And by virtue of your transfer to the Free State, did it now fall under your supervision?”

Samuel: “That is correct.”

The video below is reporting on the latest developments in the Mkhwebane impeachment proceedings:

Mkhwebane’s application to overturn the suspension

Judgment has been reserved in Mkhwebane’s application to have her suspension set aside.

On Tuesday, Mkhwebane advanced several arguments in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, on why her suspension is unconstitutional.

These included that President Cyril Ramaphosa had no authority to suspend her because she had instituted an investigation into the Phala Phala farm scandal.

Mkhwebane also argued that according to the Constitution, the President could only suspend her once the Parliamentary committee tasked with investigating her fitness to hold office had resumed its proceedings.

The video below is the analysis of the Public Protector’s suspension: