Madonsela and Mpofu spar in the public protector impeachment inquiry

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Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has finally appeared before the parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of her successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane to hold office.

Madonsela is appearing after she was subpoenaed by the committee on behalf of Mkhwebane. She is appearing to answer questions regarding her investigation into the CIEX and Vrede reports which were completed by Mkhwebane.

Madonsela testifies in the inquiry probing Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office:

In her opening evidence Madonsela told the inquiry that she resisted attempts by the State Security Agency to spy on her.

Madonsela was reluctant to appear before the committee because as she put it, she did not see the relevance of her evidence. The information they sought, she said, was with the office of the public protector itself.

“Again, my response was to ask, what’s the relevance of these questions? Is this my impeachment? If it is this is a wrong forum. I was PP untill 14 October 2016, but if it is that someone is accusing me then this is not the right forum. This is a forum about my successor, Busi Mkhwebane.”

Mpofu spent a considerable amount of time questioning the legitimacy of Madonsela’s affidavit. He pointed to changes in the document that he said had been effected after it was signed by the commissioner of oaths.

Madonsela insisted that there were no changes to the document except where she had made minor grammatical corrections and initialed.

Mpofu insisted the changes amounted to altering the document and that this was criminal behaviour.

“If Adv Mpofu wanted to put me on trial for how the changes happened between the statements, he should have indicated last week that he wants me charged now being accused of criminality.”

In the end, the committee agreed that the last signed version presented by Madonsela was the one it would use. Another matter that again made an appearance was the role of the State Security Agency.

Madonsela explained that the SSA was not involved in her investigation of the CIEX report, except for asking the then Director-General Billy Masetlha why they were involved with the original contract.

She has also told the committee that the SSA managed to get hold of documents meant for her office from the South African mission in the United Kingdom.

“I resisted being spied on by the SSA through sudden repeated requests to vet me all of which had been opened on arrival,” she says.

Mpofu took issue with Madonsela’s reluctance to be vetted or security cleared by the agency.