Section 194 Inquiry into PP’s fitness to hold office releases list of questions

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The parliamentary committee inquiring into the fitness of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office has released the list of questions from members and evidence leaders.

Sending questions for oral reply is a departure from the committee’s initial procedure of conducting the hearings primarily in public hearings.

This has been necessitated by long delays as the Public Protector had difficulty securing services of legal representatives.

The number of questions sent runs into several hundreds based on Mkhwebane’s oral evidence, sworn statements and the evidence of other witnesses.

Among the myriad of questions, Brett Heron of the Good Party asks the Public Protector why she had ordered that a meeting she held with the State Security Agency (SSA) not be recoded.

The question results from the fact that the the meeting came about because records of a previous meeting with the agency could not be found. Herron also wants to know why she had a political advisor.

He also asks why a Mr Moodley from State Security Agency, who was known as an IT expert, was referred to, by Mkhwebane, as an economist.

State Security Agency

Another question relates to Paul Ngobeni, who was disbarred in the US, was used to give legal advice.

DA MP Kevin MIleham also raises the question of why Mkhwebane had used the services of Paul Ngobeni, who is not allowed to practice law in South Africa, to draft her initial response to the rules of the Section 194 inquiry.

He also asks why she asked Ngobeni to write articles critical of judges who had made adverse findings against her. Mileham’s list of 86 questions include why external investigators were used in the PP’s CR17 probe when there was no shortage of internal staff.

He also asks whether the Public Protector denies the right and/or authority of Parliament to hold her accountable and, if necessary, dismiss her from office, through an appropriate parliamentary process? Mklhwebane has in the past described the inquiry as persecution by parliament.