Parliament’s Section 194 committee says it will communicate in due course regarding a request for President Cyril Ramaphosa to appear before it.
The committee is investigating the fitness of suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to hold office. Her legal representative Dali Mpofu, has confirmed that he has written to the committee to subpoena Ramaphosa.
One of the reports by Mkhwebane which has come under the spotlight during the parliamentary inquiry is her report on the CR17 campaign, in which Mkhwebane found that the President had misled Parliament with regard to his African National Congress election campaign.
However, the Constitutional Court found that Ramaphosa did not mislead parliament and that the Public Protector did not have the authority to investigate intra-party elections.
Mpofu also spent some time reading a minority judgment which was penned by former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, in which he found that Mkhwebane was not guilty of gross negligence or acted in bad faith in the CIEX investigation.
Mpofu stressed that minority judgments count, and further confirmed that Mkhwebane’s legal team wants the President to appear before the committee.
“By now you would have received a letter from us on the 8th and that is a day before the public holiday, pertaining to the request that we are making to you to take the necessary steps to subpoena or summon President Cyril Ramaphosa, given the report we last gave, that he had declined the invitation to appear voluntarily.
The chairperson of the inquiry, Qubudile Dyantyi, is yet to formally respond to the request, as well as another request to recall two witnesses, former SARS executives Ivan Pillay and Johan van Loggerenberg.
“The other issues you have raised especially the first two I take note of those. We’ll wait for both letters and will give feedback on both those issues,” says Dyantyi.
Former investigator testifies
Meanwhile, a former investigator in the Public Protector’s office Advocate Livhuwani Tshiwalule, took to the stand and testified over the compilation of the CIEX report.
Tshiwalule left the office of the Public Protector in 2017, saying there were significant changes to the final report.
Tshiwalule told the inquiry the recommendation for the remedial action of a constitutional amendment to change the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank was there before Mkhwebane was appointed.
Mpofu questions, ” The Public Protector will come to give evidence that the connection to the mandate of the Reserve Bank was not of her own making?” In response, Adv Tshiwalule says,” I agree with you on that”.
Mpofu argued that the remedial action was already being considered under former Public Protector advocate Thuli Madonsela.
“There is nothing that prevents the public protector like anyone like Judge Zondo, from suggesting any constitutional amendment like a death penalty, like changing voting, but it depends on members of the national assembly?” Mpofu asks.
“A suggestion must not be in the remedial action if you don’t have those powers and it might be an overreach,” says Tshiwalule.
The CIEX report has since been set aside by the Constitutional Court. But Mpofu has relied on a minority ruling in that judgment to defend Mkhwebane’s CIEX report. –Additional reporting by Bulelani Philip
Plan to subpoena President Cyril Ramaphosa, 20 July 2022: